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Jeff Zucker Testifies About NBC, Comcast Merger, Has To Defend Programming

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 28th 2010 5:30PM
Jeff ZuckerI wonder if Jeff Zucker knew that when he testified before Congress this past week about the merger between NBC and Comcast he would be talking about Tyler Perry.

But that's what happened this past week when Rep. Maxine Waters asked Zucker, "Is there some assumption that black programming is not profitable?" This is probably a question that Zucker wasn't expecting, and I'm not sure if he answered it in the best way that he could. He said that NBC has a great history of black shows on the network, and when Representative Steve Cohen mentioned that Al Roker is on 'Today' (to defend Zucker, I guess), Zucker mentioned that NBC also has Lester Holt.

Zucker was probably in an odd position, having to defend his network's diversity by actually pointing out specific people one by one (you never win when you do that), and I'm not quite sure what Waters' point has to do with the NBC/Comcast decision. Does Waters just think this about NBC or would she confront CBS and ABC about their programming, too? Waters also asked Comcast execs why they didn't have more people of color or women on their board.

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The networks need to go back and look at the show with a mainly black cast that were successful. These show where not about the cast being black they just happen to be black. When the color of the cast skin comes in to play it make many mainly white (75%) people unconformable.

February 28 2010 at 11:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Actor n LA

Black programming isn't profitable???

I think you need to think again. There were many advertiser trying to get their product sold during the showing of the Cosby Show which was the #1 show in America for a number for years.

Maxine has the right to ask that question and programming geared toward blacks is missing from the networks.

I'm tired of seeing a whole bunch of white people programming. No wonder we have so many racist/ignorant white people in this country who don't know any but white. RIDICULOUS!

Hispanics have their own networks that also speak Spanish. Here in LA they want to segregate them selves from others by speaking only Spanish. Telemudo yo ass over there.

Asian have their own networks too.

Black own network is just tired azz Gospel (boring) and TV One which is good and starting original scripted programming (not reality prgmg).

Also NBC kept denying Bill Cosby's proposal to buy them because they (the white man) did not want a black man to own a major network. Look it up ignorant white people!

February 28 2010 at 9:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's not as profitable. Can we blame the network?

African Americans are 12.5% of our population. That's behind Hispanic, at 15.4%, and White, at a solid 75%.

Beyond this, people tend to watch their own race. Whites do it more, because, honestly, they're the only race that can, but all races prefer to watch their own race. Thankfully this is changing every day, as younger kids are more accostumed to watching other races and do it more often.

The bottom line, though, is advertising revenues. This is gained through viewers. Going for "Black Entertainment" is pretty much limiting yourself to ~20% of the population off the bat. Going for "White Entertainment" is probably about 90%.

I'm not defending any of this. But it's a fact of our culture, and the networks are a reflection of the problem, not the cause of it. Furthermore, none of them wants to be the first to make a move because it'll just hurt them in the long run. Instead it will be a slow progression that speeds up every year. Dave Chappelle proved that, if the humor is right, white kids across the country will flock. But, given a choice between standard dull sitcom A with white people and standard dull sitcom B with black people they'll choose what they know.

February 28 2010 at 7:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

With out economy in the toilet, and people losing their homes and jobs, this is what constitutes important work in Congress? No wonder people have a "vote 'em all out" mentality.

February 28 2010 at 7:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
moon unit

Don't you think some people of color are tired of watching white people on dramas/sitcoms/etc. all of the time? I am.

February 28 2010 at 7:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

what a bullshit question. what is "black programming"? and if there is such a thing as black programming, what about hispanic programming? brown-people programming? asian programming? do we need that too?

do the other networks have black programming?

February 28 2010 at 5:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm sure given the sorry state of programming diversity, she would have asked any television executive that question. NBC does have a good past history of programming with diverse casts, but their current offerings, like ABC and CBS, leave much to be desired.

February 28 2010 at 5:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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