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NBC Expands Duties of Jeff Zucker

May 22, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ NBC announced Wednesday that its West Coast president, Scott Sassa, will leave his job and his duties will be taken over by the network’s entertainment chief, Jeff Zucker.

Sassa will stay at NBC in a role that isn’t entirely clear yet. The network said he would focus on ``strategic projects″ and report to NBC’s top executives, Bob Wright and Andrew Lack.

Sassa’s departure had been rumored for several months.

Wright, NBC’s chairman, said Sassa’s new duties will be discussed over the next few months, and he praised him for doing a ``good job″ with NBC.

The corporate reshuffling continues Zucker’s meteoric rise. The former executive producer of the ``Today″ show was named entertainment president a year and a half ago and guided NBC to the top of the prime-time ratings in his first full TV season.

``I just hope that we continue to have the same success that we have had for the past 18 months,″ Zucker said. ``It’s been an honor and a privilege.″

Zucker also developed the successful reality series ``Fear Factor.″ NBC’s inability to launch a reality show at a time when CBS hit with ``Survivor″ and ABC had ``Who Wants to Be a Millionaire″ was a source of tension between Sassa and his bosses.

``The consensus was that Jeff was up to speed to take on these responsibilities on the West Coast, and that is what this is really all about,″ Wright said.

In addition to continuing his oversight of NBC’s entertainment programming, Zucker will be newly responsible for NBC’s production studio and the company’s syndication arm.

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