Jeff Zucker has been handed the keys to the kingdom.
The veteran NBC executive was officially named president and CEO of NBC Universal Tuesday, two days after it was reported that the former Today show producer would be taking the reigns from longtime honcho Bob Wright.
Wright, who steered the Peacock network through its glorious Must-See TV days in the 1990s and has been credited with transforming a solo broadcast network into a multifaceted powerhouse brand, will stay on as vice chairman of General Electric, which controls 80 percent of NBCU, and assist with the changing-of-the-guard process.
"Jeff Zucker is a terrific talent and the right person to guide NBC Universal on the next stage of its growth," GE chief executive Jeffrey Immelt said in a statement. "Jeff's 20-plus years with NBC give him deep knowledge of the company's strategy, people and culture.
"In the past few years, Jeff has shown that he is an energetic, focused leader who can rise to a challenge. His creative experience, expertise in news and broadcasting and intense passion for the business were immensely appealing to the board and to me during this succession process."
As president of NBC Entertainment and then as CEO of NBC Universal Television Group, the title he was given in 2005, Zucker certainly became familiar with the concept of adversity. NBC became the fourth-ranked network on his watch and critics blamed him for the nonexistence of megahits on par with Friends or Seinfeld.
But according to the suits at GE, Zucker, 41, is the man who can take NBCU into the digital age, as more and more networks and studios head online to diversify the ways in which audiences can access and interact with content, such as Fox parent News Corp. did when it snatched up MySpace last year.
"Once we made the decision, we felt there was no reason to wait," Immelt said, explaining that he considered Zucker for the top job in late 2006, after the former Today executive producer had spent a year overseeing the company's entire TV division, which, according to the Hollywood Reporter, accounts for two-thirds of NBCU's profits.
Zucker said at a news conference Tuesday, per Variety, that he'll be looking to "keep the momentum we've discovered in prime-time" with breakout hits such as Heroes and Deal or No Deal, and "make sure that content is available in as many places as possible and that we are getting properly paid for it."
As far as Universal Studios (both the filmmaking entity and the theme park) is concerned, Zucker said that studio president Ron Meyers will be on hand to guide him as he familiarizes himself more with the NBCU movie business.
Meanwhile, no one will be replacing Zucker as head of NBCU Television Group. Instead, some organizational changes will be taking place and the responsibilities Zucker relinquishes as he moves into his new post will be farmed out to other executives.