Zucker out; Comcast's Burke to run NBCU

In an announcement that surprised no one save perhaps Jeffrey Zucker, Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) COO Steve Burke will become CEO of NBC Universal when Comcast acquires NBC Universal, perhaps as soon as later this year.

Zucker, in a move that should have made his never-to-be employers wistful, waited until late Friday afternoon to state he would leave NBCU when the deal closed. In the past such an announcement would have gone relatively unnoticed, but the 24/7 news cycle caught on right away, so Comcast two days later made its own announcement that Burke, Comcast Chairman-CEO Brian Roberts' top lieutenant, would step into the spot.

Roberts issued a gushing statement at the thought: "Steve is one of the most well-respected executives in the industry and I am confident that he will lead NBCU forward to a new era of growth."

Burke has been--and will continue to--oversee the effort to make NBC Comcastic as soon as the deal clears regulatory hurdles with all sorts of federal agencies. When he's in control, Burke, a former Disney executive who has been with Comcast since 1998, will have control of such powerful cable properties as USA Network and Bravo and the sagging NBC broadcast network.

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