As first reported by Chicagoland Radio and Media on April 2, Tribune fired Nils Larsen as president and CEO of Tribune Broadcasting. Larsen joined Tribune in December 2008 during the Randy Michaels-Sam Zell era. Typical to how things work in Chicago politics, Larsen was hired because of his “connections”, even though he couldn’t tell the difference between a television and a toaster (had a financial background, but no broadcasting experience). Larsen became Chief Investment Officer a year later, and somehow became president and CEO of Tribune Broadcasting in May 2011 while Tribune was mired in bankruptcy, which it exited last December 31.
During his tenure as CEO of Tribune Broadcasting, the group lost bids to competing station groups for future off-network sitcoms Anger Mangement (to Fox) and Mike & Molly and 2 Broke Girls (to CBS/Weigel.) On the other hand, Tribune signed on for Arsenio Hall’s new late-night talk show from CBS Television Distribution and renewed NBCUniversal’s trio of conflict talk shows.
The move comes as newly-appointed president of local programming Larry Wert and new CEO Peter Ligouri are cleaning house and removing key execs who were “patronaged” under Zell The Ziphead and The Court Jester. And this raises questions about another key exec’s future (Sean Compton) who was also hired during the Michaels-Zell era. Yes – the termination clock is ticking on Mr. Compton.
And don’t worry about Larsen – for a guy like him, there’s always room in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration.