"I have specific reasons to dislike the guy, and his ignominious de-jobbing at the end of a bad run of failure at NBCUniversal was a happy event for me," Polone writes in an open letter featured in The Hollywood Reporter. "Given that, you can guess how displeased I was upon hearing that my nemesis had been chosen to lead CNN."
Polone was a talent agent before becoming a film and television producer. He kept just one client after his transition: Conan O'Brien. Polone worked with Zucker throughout O'Brien's career on NBC, which included O'Brien replacing Jay Leno on The Tonight Show until Zucker decided to move Jay back to late night. Conan left NBC rather than move The Tonight Show's timeslot.
Despite all the bad publicity surrounding Zucker's ouster at NBC, Polone actually thinks Zucker —who led Today to a 16-year ratings winning streak as executive producer, before serving as entertainment president and later CEO of NBCUNiversal — will do well in his new job. "The coup de grace is something I'm loath to mention: Zucker will probably succeed and be thought of as the hero who saved the network," Polone says. "Why will he succeed if he was proved to be such a failure in his last job? There has been so much negative commentary in the public discourse about him and how he handled things that he possibly has been humbled and won't initially make similar mistakes to those he committed in his last position."
While Polone gives Zucker credit for taking a turn at another network ("You need to be tough to outlast the bad swings," Polone says. "Zucker is tough and competitive," Polone says), he doesn't hold out hope that Zucker has changed. "A--holes reformed by having to confront failure regain their a--holishness soon after re-establishing their lost eminence," Polone says. "Assuming that I'm right and Zucker hits it out of the park at CNN, the previous behavior I have witnessed from him and didn't like will re-emerge, and in a sense, his personality will eventually regress to the ... mean."
What do you think of Polone's comments?