While the NBC broadcast network hemorrhages cash, NBCU's cable consortium makes money in buckets. Even in the NBC microcosm, NBC News is making money with 'Today' and the 'NBC Nightly News' while the entertainment and sports divisions aren't doing well. Which is why it's not surprising that news president Steve Capus defended his boss to Jon Friedman of Marketwatch.com.
The Daily Beast reports that "knowledegable sources" said that if Conan leaves the network, he will be free to appear on other networks under his NBC contract and interested parties are negotiating a payout.
Apparently, the whole mess started by NBC, beyond their going back on their word that Conan could keep The Tonight Show, was over the size of the payout for Conan. The sources don't say the size or even the range of the payout, but rest assured that the actual amount could totally cover the tab you racked up at your local Hooters. You know who you are.
This makes total sense for USA. With Monk having ended its run this month, White Collar can now fill the bill joining Psych, Burn Notice, In Pain Sight and Royal Pains as the net's original series. How ironic that this NBCU network is doing a better job with original programming than NBC proper?
The nonprofit media organization, FreePress, has compiled a list of the potential for customer costs, voice diversity and media control when the deal finally goes through. If the numbers are as accurate as the group claims, they are pretty sobering. Don't read it, posted after the jump, while you're watching TV or you might break it in a fit of rage.
You wouldn't read the nutritional chart at McDonald's while you're biting into a big juicy Double Quarter Pounder, would you?
TVTattle has compiled a smart series of stories on exactly what the deal could mean to you, the viewer. For instance, Comcast, a cable company, may have purchased NBC to "devalue" free TV, much in the same way Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? bought the Red Car company so he could "dismantle it" to run his freeway through Toontown. And if you British literature snobs can think of a better metaphor, be my guest.
There is also talk that Comcast might drop the NBC brand. Does that mean the company will also take out the NBC peacock Ol' Yeller style?
Everyone makes fun of NBCU because of the NBC's bumbling high-profile moves over the last half-decade or so, but the reason why the company was so attractive to Comcast was not the broadcast network, but its über-successful cable networks, especially Bravo and USA. Still, it's embarrassing to have your flagship net stumble around like a disoriented shopper on Black Friday. So, if I were in the Comcast executive suite, here's a few things I'd do to prop up the Peacock:
The question is: what will Comcast dump and what will they keep? Almost certainly they will keep the cable networks. Will they keep the NBC network itself? NBC is a popular name brand, but the network has been sagging in the ratings to the point where they're trying desperate moves like "Leno at Ten-o" (a phrase that NBC will undoubtedly use soon if they haven't already).
One can hope the Comcast deal will be a boon to NBC and give the network a shot in the arm to produce better television. I remain skeptical. At this stage, it's pretty much a "wait and see" situation.
What do you think is going to happen? Will Comcast's involvement make NBC Universal better or worse?
You'll see him on Today, The Tonight Show, The Jay Leno Show, Saturday Night Live, a segment of the NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams and a sit down with James Lipton on Bravo's Inside the Actors' Studio. When The Circle is released on November 10, you'll know all about it... if you've watched NBC and Bravo.
A&E Networks aquired Lifetime as part of a deal between Hearst, Disney and NBC Universal. The deal makes Lifetime a sub-company in the A&E empire.
The deal puts Disney and Hearst in the front row seats of both networks with NBC in a distant third. This means that NBC can sell its holdings in Lifetime to the other two parties within the next 15 years.
There doesn't seem to be any serious announcement or confirmations of a name or brand change under their new owners. Lifetime will still be called Lifetime.
[via TV Newser]
It was all really uncomfortable, obvious and out of place when you are tuning in for news, politics, some pop culture and get NBCU corporate cheerleaders in full pom-pom mode.
Okay, enough ranting; there is some news to report. If the deal goes through -- and it will -- Today weatherman Al Roker may be relocating or he'll be repurposed, becoming the face of The Weather Channel.
The takeover of Oxygen by NBC Universal has now lead to 25% of Oxygen's employees being let go, per this Variety article. "We have consolidated functions and operations, resulting in job impact," said J.B. Perrette, president of distribution for NBCU. Can't you just see Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) delivering that line. "Job Impact." I love wordspin. Not "We just told 65 people that come the New Year they'll be on the streets looking for work" but "We told 65 people that their jobs have been impacted."
Over the weekend, Nikki Finke of LA Weekly reported on her blog that Reilly will be replaced by two people: producer Ben Silverman, whose company brought The Office and Ugly Betty to the U.S., will be in charge of the entertainment side and Marc Graboff, currently NBCU Television's West Coast chief, will run the business side. Bill Carter of The New York Times is also reporting on the change, but in a less definitive manner.
Well, the NLRB finally ruled on the matter, and NBCU came out on the losing end. Sort of. The board dismissed the case yesterday, ruling that there was no evidence that the union coerced or pressured the show-runners of those shows to not work on the webisodes. So, while NBCU technically lost, all they wanted from this case was for the WGA to admit that they didn't pressure anyone, which is what they got, according to Broadcasting & Cable. Another dispute between the two parties, about a "side-letter" agreement regarding web content, will be decided by a private arbitrator in late spring.
According to the New York Times, NBC is planning to shuffle its schedule for the New Year. The network has said that it wants cheap shows (reality shows, news, and game shows) in its 8 pm time slots and dramas and comedies at later hours.
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