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April 25, 2014

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Five changes Comcast should make to NBC

by Joel Keller, posted Dec 3rd 2009 3:02PM
Comcast and NBC Universal logosIt's official: GE has sold 51% of NBC Universal to Comcast, for approximately $6.5 billion dollars in cash (what are the odds they'll use this as an excuse to raise my cable bill again?). It'll take about a year to go through the regulatory and anti-trust gauntlets, but after that, the cable giant will be in charge.

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:

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Comcast, NBC Deal Made Official

by Rebecca Paiement, posted Dec 3rd 2009 12:11PM
It's official.

The Hollywood Reporter announced this morning that Comcast has shaken hands with General Electric, giving the giant cable company 51 percent of NBC Universal and Comcast's content assets.

Though the agreement was initially discussed in 2003, when NBC Uni had a higher value, the company is currently said to be worth $30 billion, with its recent acquisitions of Oxygen and iVillage.com, among others. Comcast, of course, brings along networks like E!, the Golf Channel and other sporting networks, valued at $7.25 billion. The final figure paid to GE will depend on what happens in talks between now and the close of the deal, but it is rumored to be about $6.5 billion. This will have Comcast exceeding the revenue assets of Walt Disney, Time Warner and News Corp.

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Yup, Comcast now owns NBC

by Brad Trechak, posted Dec 3rd 2009 9:30AM
NBC LogoThe clues were there and now it's official. A press release has been issued confirming Comcast buying a 51% stake in NBCU with GE owning the remaining 49%. Now the fun begins.

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?

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Even outside of her show Tina Fey digs at NBC

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 20th 2009 4:02PM
FeyEvery week we can be guaranteed that Tina Fey and the people at 30 Rock will make fun of NBC in some way, whether it's product placement or The Jay Leno Show or last night's line about the green NBC peacock in the corner of the screen. Fey also isn't shy about dumping on NBC when she's away from the show either.

The other night she gave a speech at an Ad Council meeting at the Waldorf in New York. Her barbs were mostly about NBC's ratings, including pointing out that "NBC is sadly the fourth-place network. Actually we're in ninth place if you count the radio stations ahead of us right now." She also suggested that if the 1200 people in the audience watched NBC for just one night there would be a huge jump in the ratings.

I've been wondering what will happen if and when Comcast takes over NBC. Will they still have the HQ at 30 Rock? Will the show still be called 30 Rock? Fey suggested a new title: Industrial Park on the Schuyikill River.

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Even a takeover can't save NBC

by Danny Gallagher, posted Nov 5th 2009 9:07PM
There are very few sure fire signs that a network is completely worthless and this is one of them.

Comcast has been looking to buy the financially troubled NBC from General Electric, but Wall Street insiders say the deal won't be good for Comcast's stock.

Even confirmed reports of a takeover bid can't save the network in the eyes of the almighty stockholder. What would make NBC more profitable in Wall Street's eyes?

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Comcast may own NBC soon

by Brad Trechak, posted Nov 3rd 2009 9:03AM
NBCAccording to the New York Times, Comcast is set to own NBC Universal and all channels that are part of it as early as next week.

This could change the entire television landscape and pretty much give us less of a selection in terms of entertainment. The rumor is that Comcast is going to keep the cable channels, then sell the NBC network. News Corporation expressed interest in the property, but the Comcast talks progressed along far enough to eliminate other potential buyers. It could be argued that having MSNBC partially owned by the same owners of Fox News is a bit of a conflict of interest.

Who would step forward to buy NBC network? The ratings haven't been great and they did do that silly thing with Jay Leno and their 10 p.m. slot. NBC is too much of a name brand to let fall by the wayside. Who do you think should step up and buy the network?

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Comcast might buy NBC (or they might not - who knows?)

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 1st 2009 1:33PM
NBCYesterday, rumors were flying after an Los Angeles Times report said that Comcast was in negotiations to buy NBC. But then The New York Times reported late last night that both sides denied that any negotiations were going on between the two companies. This morning, things are a little... murkier.

Mediabistro got hold of an e-mail that NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker sent to employees. It's a long e-mail, but nowhere in it does he say that the rumors of Comcast (or anyone else) buying NBC are untrue.

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Comcast changes ending to FIOS commercial (but it's easy to understand why)

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 25th 2009 3:43PM
You've seen the commercial below. It's a Comcast ad that takes on Verizon FIOS by saying that FIOS costs more, doesn't have as much HD as Comcast, and is filled with too many lame videos.

Last night I watched the commercial again (for the 4000th time) and I noticed that they've changed the ending. The FIOS guy used to say "I'm going to write down your credit card number which I memorized when I was looking..." I always thought that was an odd line, pretty much insinuating that a Verizon rep would take someone's credit card number like that. But they've now taken that line out and replaced it with something else (though the new line escapes me at the moment - anyone?). I wonder if Verizon complained?

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Five winners from this year's Clio Awards

by Bob Sassone, posted May 18th 2009 5:06PM
ClioI know it puts me in the minority, but I've always loved TV commercials. Sure, the bad ones are bad, but the good ones are art. The Clio Awards (for excellence in advertising) last week, and here's the list of winners. After the jump, some highlights from various categories.

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Chelsea Handler inks new deal with Comcast - I'm saved!

by Jane Boursaw, posted Mar 24th 2009 8:08AM
Chelsea Handler and ChuyI cover the night shift at TV Squad, which means I edit and schedule posts in the blogging queue from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. I actually like the quiet time to work, since my household is pretty noisy during the day.

But one thing that gets me through the night is Chelsea Lately, the late night talk show featuring comedian Chelsea Handler and her little nugget Chuy. In my neck of the woods, her show airs at 3 and 3:30 a.m., just the exact moment I need a boost to carry me through to morning.

So I was pretty excited to read that Chelsea's inked a shiny new deal with Comcast Entertainment Group. The agreement includes continuing to exec produce and star in her E! show, Chelsea Lately, through 2012. She's also establishing a new company, Borderline Amazing Productions, which will have a first-look deal with Comcast's cable networks.

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Porn victims to get ten bucks from Comcast

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 3rd 2009 12:45PM
ComcastSo you've probably heard about the 30 seconds of porn (video is unbelievably NSFW. You will be fired and embarrassed if you watch this video. Please don't show to your parents, kids, or clergy. Warning! Graphic!) that many Tucson residents saw during the Super Bowl. And if you lived in the area and actually saw it, you might be getting some money from Comcast.

The cable company has decided to pay ten dollars to each person who was "affected" by the showing of porn during the game. I have no idea how you're supposed to prove you saw it or even what "affected" means. Annoyed? Ticked off? Embarrassed for your family? Aroused? Did it make you want to strangle a puppy? Comcast, the nudity you showed on Super Bowl Sunday made me rethink my career path. I want my ten dollars!

Comcast is still investigating what exactly happened, but they're pretty sure it was done by someone on purpose. Only people who didn't watch the game in HD actually saw it, which is a great ad for HDTV. Not sure if the spokesperson for the company helps by using the words "aggressively pursue" and "come to a resolution" in the statement.

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A thank you to my cable provider (no, I'm serious!) -- VIDEO

by Richard Keller, posted Jan 13th 2009 9:08AM

Bugs Bunny talks up Little Red Riding Hood.Everyone, I need your attention! I am about to do something that rarely pops up in my life and, I'm guessing, in yours as well. It might be a little shocking, so I want to make sure that you're near a chair. Deep breath, here it goes...

I want to thank my cable provider. I'll wait until you can sit down. Need a drink of water? Breath of fresh air?

I'm being serious here! I know that it's rare that someone publicly thanks the utility that sucks their money away and provides little if any variety, but I think this time it's merited. You see, for years now the networks have been lacking a very important series of programs that are important to the proper education of our youth. I speak about Looney Tunes cartoons.

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Yule Log 2008: A review

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 9th 2008 10:09AM
It's approaching midnight, it's in the single digits outside, and I really don't feel like watching regular TV right now. I feel like having something on while I get under the covers and read. Time for the Yule Log!

This season (Jay reviewed one a couple of years ago), Comcast, Cox, Time-Warner, and Bright House all have the Yule Log on their On Demand service (via iN Demand). It's that scene of a crackling fireplace to get you in the Christmas mood. It's especially good if you don't have a fireplace of your own (duh), and it's in HD! I have Comcast digital, and to access it, go to your On Demand menu, then scroll down to HD On Demand, then go to TV Entertainment. You'll see a "Yule Log & More" category (not sure how to get to the section on other cable systems - maybe it's the same?).

But wait, there's more...

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What the hell happened to MSNBC?

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 17th 2008 2:35PM

MSNBC logoUm....OK, so I just turned on MSNBC to get the latest news and I get a notice on the screen that says this.

NOT AUTHORIZED
To order MSNBC service on channel 114, call 1-800....

What the hell? So I go to channel 114 and it has the same message. At first I thought it was one of those temporary glitches that sometimes happen to cable systems (in this case, Comcast), but then I read this over at TV Newser. Seems that Comcast is starting to drop MSNBC from its basic package in many areas and putting it in the digital package. They're doing it in Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Connecticut, and now it looks like it is affecting Massachusetts, too. Anyone else out there not have MSNBC?

I think we pay approximately $4000 a month for cable and we have a digital package, so I would hope MSNBC would be covered (especially since CNN and FOX News are there). I'm going to get my paperwork and find out why this move isn't included in it. This isn't even remotely Comcastic.

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Things I learned from my cable TV

by Brett Love, posted Jun 26th 2008 6:02PM
Kristy SwansonI'm going to hazard the guess that if you are a regular visitor to TV Squad that you, like me, probably watch more television than the average bear. Partly out of good old fashioned curiosity, and partly because I'm paying for all of those channels so I might as well use them, I make it a point to cover as much of my cable TV package as I can when time allows. Doing so, you end up finding some odd and interesting things. After the jump, five things I've learned from my cable TV over the last week or so.


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