Broke As A Peacock!

zucker Broke As A Peacock!In recent months, bad news in the financial world has translated into big news for CNBC, and big news is good news for a 24-hour cable news network. With national interest in financial news at a fever pitch, the business news network has been posting its highest ratings in its 19-year history.

And now, owner GE is rewarding them with … budget cuts!

Bosses at CNBC, The Observer has learned, are now preparing to scale back budgets. Sources inside CNBC have heard that the figure could approach a 10 percent overall budget cut.

“We’re committed to having the best team in business news worldwide,” said CNBC spokesman Kevin Goldman.

In recent years, NBC’s shift from the analog to the digital era has resulted in a range of money-saving maneuvers, particularly at MSNBC and NBC News.

But until now CNBC has largely avoided the machete. Last year, for instance, the cable business channel was reportedly exempted from the cuts thanks to the nascent competition from the newly launched Fox Business Network.

Over the past year, CNBC has enjoyed steady ratings dominance over their competitors at Fox Business. But the downside of CNBC’s competitive success is that it has apparently brought their budget back into play. The move doesn’t surprise many longtime observers of the NBC landscape. “It’s only logical that after cut after cut at NBC News and MSNBC that CNBC would eventually have to come to the table,” said one TV insider.

Back in October, NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker sent an e-mail to employees, informing them that roughly $500 million, or roughly 3 percent of the budget, would be cut across the company, focusing on “reductions in promotion expenses; in discretionary spending, such as travel and entertainment and outside consultants; and in staffing costs.”

Whether “staffing costs” are among those that will have to be implemented at CNBC remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, serious changes are rumored to be afoot for NBC News’ investigative unit led by senior correspondent Lisa Myers and senior producer Jim Popkin.

The unit is based in Washington, D.C. On Friday, Nov. 7, TVNewser reported that Washington bureau chief Mark Whitaker was encouraging D.C. staffers to take buyout offers, which, according to their source, had been offered to “virtually everyone” in the bureau.

Will the buyouts affect the investigative team moving forward?

“Our commitment to investigative journalism remains as strong as ever,” NBC News spokesperson Allison Gollust said. “We aren’t looking to make any changes there. We’re not planning to make any changes to personnel.”

fgillette@observer.com

Article continues below
More from Politics
STAR OF DAVID OR 'PLAIN STAR'?   If you thought "CP Time" was impolitic, on July 2 Donald Trump posted a picture on Twitter of a Star of David on top of a pile of cash next to Hillary Clinton's face. You'd think after the aforementioned crime stats incident (or after engaging a user called "@WhiteGenocideTM," or blasting out a quote from Benito Mussolini, or...) Trump would have learned to wait a full 15 seconds before hitting the "Tweet" button. But not only was the gaffe itself bad, the attempts at damage control made the BP oil spill response look a virtuoso performance.  About two hours after the image went up on Trump's account, somebody took it down and replaced it with a similar picture that swapped the hexagram with a circle (bearing the same legend "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!"!). Believe it or not, it actually got worse from there. As reports arose that the first image had originated on a white supremacist message board, Trump insisted that the shape was a "sheriff's star," or "plain star," not a Star of David. And he continued to sulk about the coverage online and in public for days afterward, even when the media was clearly ready to move on. This refusal to just let some bad press go would haunt him later on.
Donald Trump More Or Less Says He’ll Keep On Tweeting as President