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Zucker Leaving NBC

12:50 PM -- The chips are starting to fall as Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) inches toward closing its acquisition of NBC Universal , and the first one's a doozy -- none other than NBCU chief Jeff Zucker.

Zucker reportedly told employees via email that he would step down when Comcast takes over, which is expected to occur before the end of the year. (See Comcast to Take Control of NBC Universal.)

Zucker, 45, told The New York Times that the decision wasn't his choice, but became clear following a recent meeting with Comcast COO Steve Burke.

"Look, I knew from the day this was announced that this was a possibility," Zucker told the paper. "I wasn’t going to shut the door on anything. But in the last nine months it became increasingly clear that they did want to put their own team in place — and I didn’t want to end up being a guest in my own house."

Update I: In another expected move, Comcast announced on Sunday (Sept. 26) that Burke, a ranking exec at ABC before joining Comcast in 1998, will become CEO of NBCU when Comcast completes its takeover of from GE, expected to happen before the end of the year. (See Burke to Become CEO Of NBCU.)

Zucker, who isn't talking about the terms of his settlement, did mention that he might be interested in politics.

Zucker's coming departure comes amid wider speculation about which NBCU programming execs will be staying, including what the future may hold for NBCU cable entertainment division president Bonnie Hammer and Laren Zalaznick, who heads NBCU's women and lifestyle entertainment networks. It's believed that Burke wants to retain both, but may have trouble creating new, powerful roles that will keep them on post-deal.

Update II: But don't expect anything more formal to be announced right away. Comcast said there won't be any "additional structural or personnel announcements until the deal closing process and timing is certain."

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:22:35 PM
re: Zucker Leaving NBC

The other expected foot dropped on this story on Sunday, with Comcast announcing that Steve Burke will become CEO of NBCU when Comcast seals its deal to acquire 51% of the company from GE.  Comcast and GE said there "will be no additional structural or personnel announcements until the deal closing process and timing is certain."  At last check, Comcast expects the deal to close before the end of the year. JB



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