The Strike and NBC: Less Pilots, More Guts
There's a silver lining in any cloud and NBC Universal is finding one in the writer's strike, according to Jeff Zucker, the company's president and CEO.
"Obviously we wish the writer's strike was over ... In the short run it has not hurt our business," he said in an interview from Davos, Switzerland, on CNBC's "Squawk Box."
And the strike is forcing the company to look at some of its conventional practices and streamlining them, like the practice of producing pilots for possible programming.
"Instead of making the 25 pilots that we have historically made on the comedy and drama side, now we'll make 5 or 6 or something like that," said Zucker. "And we'll have the same number of scripted programs. But instead of piloting all of them, we'll just have the executives, you know, go on their gut. Frankly that's what they're there for."
In the meantime, the company is managing to weather the economy's dark clouds as well.
"It's not showing up in our business yet, on the advertising side, which is where you would normally expect to see it first," Zucker said. "We're not seeing any indication of that across all of our properties, whether it's on the cable side or the broadcast side. Things remain incredibly strong, and we remain optimistic about that. I think the key thing is to just be prudent as we work through the businesses."
CNBC and CNBC.com are subsidiaries of NBC Universal, which is part of General Electric .