Bob Wright, who recently turned over the reins of NBC Universal to Jeff Zucker, has had an extraordinary career thus far.
When Mr. Wright, who turns 64 this month, first joined General Electric — which bought NBC in 1986 — certainly the furthest thought from his mind was that his career path would eventually lead him to the helm of one of the nation’s top TV networks — and that he would hold that position for more than two decades……
Finally, Mr. Wright is joined by his wife, Suzanne, to discuss Autism Speaks, an organization they co-founded, and an organization to which Mr. Wright will be devoting a significant amount of time now that he has left his post at NBC.
TelevisionWeek: Let’s put ourselves in a time machine and take you back to 1986, when you took over and Grant Tinker was just leaving NBC. You’d had some experience with Cox, but otherwise it was at GE — in GE Financial if I recall — and so this obviously was a whole new animal. I’m just wondering what kind of trepidations, challenges, fears you might have had coming into the job.
Bob Wright: I spent three and a half years at Cox and I was executive vice president of Cox Broadcasting and president of Cox Cable. So I wasn’t unassociated with the broadcasting portion of the business. … Down in Atlanta, where the headquarters were, we also had WSB, which was one of the most outstanding television stations in the country at that time, and had been an NBC affiliate all the way up until the Iran hostage [crisis]. They didn’t switch because of Ted Koppel, they switched about that time because of programming deterioration at NBC.