A version of this story first appeared in the May 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
New NBC News chairman Andy Lack and CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker huddled at a small table in the Delta departure lounge at New York’s LaGuardia airport April 25, passing the time before boarding a 2 p.m. flight to Washington (where they separately attended the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner). Several rival network executives and talent looked on as the two former NBC colleagues engaged in an intense-looking conversation, Zucker dressed in a gray track suit and Lack wearing an ill-fitting raincoat that looked like it could have been donned by Edward R. Murrow during the Blitz.
The monitor overhead was of course tuned to CNN; the network likes to tout its presence in airports. But it was perhaps a little ironic that the piece spooling overhead featured the latest revelations about NBC Nightly News‘ Brian Williams, this time questioning his reporting from Cairo during the Arab Spring. The tete-a-tete only furthered speculation that the anchor may be forced to exit and will be looking for a soft landing at another network, preferably one that is not seen as a direct competitor of NBC.