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April 17, 2014

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NBC News Chief Defends Jeff Zucker

by Joel Keller, posted Feb 3rd 2010 8:08PM
Steve Capus, president of NBC NewsIt's no secret that Jeff Zucker is the most hated man in broadcasting. That is, if you don't work for NBC or GE. While Zucker has spent his time overseeing NBC and NBC Universal tinkering and experimenting the broadcast network into a fourth-place laughingstock, there is a reason why he continues to remain at the company and get more and more responsibility: the man makes GE money.

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.

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NBC is close to letting Conan go

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jan 15th 2010 8:02AM
Conan O'BrienIt appears that NBC is going to hold Conan O'Brien to his word and allow him to leave the network, now that Jay Leno will move back to 11:30 p.m. barring some unforeseen hiccup like a global apocalypse or Jesus becoming Conan's new agent.

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.

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USA wants more White Collar

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 20th 2009 11:41AM
white_collar_bomer_dekayFile this under the "I was expecting nothing less" category. USA Network has ordered a second season of White Collar, the Matthew Bomer caper drama. The announcement was made not via a press release, but using Twitter. Welcome to the new reality. Jeff Eastin, White Collar's creator, tweeted the news: "Congratulations to the best cast and crew on television."

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?

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How much saturated fat is in the NBC/Comcast deal?

by Danny Gallagher, posted Dec 3rd 2009 9:30PM
Some people think the Comcast takeover of NBC is so unhealthy that they have created their own nutritional information of the deal.

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?

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What does the NBC/Comcast deal mean for you?

by Danny Gallagher, posted Dec 3rd 2009 6:01PM
All this talk about Comcast gobbling up the NBC empire like an English orphan going for the last morsel of figgy pudding at the Christmas dinner table may have some viewers lost in the void of the vortex.

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?

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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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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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Jon Bon Jovi teams with NBCU for major album promotion

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 14th 2009 8:27PM
jon_bon_joviIn the last month, Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston and Michael Bublé have all appeared and sang on The Oprah Winfrey Show. All three have had number one albums. Coincidence? No. Good promotion (although Whitney had already reached number one by the time she warbled on Oprah). Therefore, I have to wonder why Jon Bon Jovi has entered an exclusive "artist in residence" deal with NBC Universal? For two months, Bon Jovi will promote the new Bon Jovi CD, The Circle, only just on NBCU channels.

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.

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A&E buys Lifetime

by Danny Gallagher, posted Aug 27th 2009 6:00PM
A&E and Lifetime Network logosA long-awaited merger between two cable channels has been finalized...uh, finally.

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.

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Here's what you'll see on NBC (and CNBC, USA, Bravo, and Sci-Fi) tonight at 8

by Bob Sassone, posted May 12th 2009 3:22PM
NBC Universal has just turned five years old, and I didn't get them a present. What do you get a giant international media and entertainment company? Tonight at 8 they're running the ad below, and not just on NBC. You'll also see it on other NBC Universal properties, including MSNBC, CNBC, USA, Bravo, and The Sci-Fi Channel. And if you're not in front a TV and happen to be in Times Square, you'll see it there too.

[via TV Newser]

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Al Roker, NBCU and the Weather Channel

by Allison Waldman, posted Jul 7th 2008 2:01PM
RokerSo, you probably heard that the NBC Universal empire will be expanding by one, once it has added The Weather Channel to its media outlets. On MSNBC this morning, the subs on Morning Joe were crowing about CEO Jeff Zucker, sucking up royally, and even hyping GE stock.

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.

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As part of NBCU takeover, 25% of Oxygen employees gone

by Jason Hughes, posted Dec 4th 2007 12:03PM

Oxygen LogoThe 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."

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Is Kevin Reilly finally gone from NBC?

by Joel Keller, posted May 29th 2007 9:38AM
Kevin ReillyIt's a rumor that's been going around Hollywood for years; heck, we even mistakenly thought this was going to happen last year. But now it looks like NBC Universal president Jeff Zucker has finally had enough and is replacing the president of NBC Entertainment, Kevin Reilly.

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.

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Writers Guild wins webisode dispute with NBCU

by Joel Keller, posted Feb 22nd 2007 4:02PM
The Office webisodesLast summer, I told you about a dispute NBC Universal was having with the Writers Guild of America over the webisodes they asked the creators of The Office, Heroes, and Battlestar Galactica to write and produce prior to this season. It seems as if the WGA was a little cheesed off that NBC was asking writers to create these web-only vignettes for no extra compensation, and ordered the writers to stop working on them. NBCU filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board over the union's order.

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.

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Dateline gets three nights, bumps Friday Night Lights

by Anna Johns, posted Nov 25th 2006 12:26PM
friday night lightsEven though it totally slashed its staff, NBC is upping its order of Dateline to three nights per week. Most notably, it's going to air in the slot where Friday Night Lights currently sits on Tuesday nights. Now, FNL fans probably shouldn't worry! Even though its ratings haven't been outstanding, NBC did order a full season of the teen football drama and promises it is committed to the series. The network just hasn't announced where Friday Night Lights will land, but previous speculation puts it on Sunday nights.. Dateline will also air on Saturdays and Sundays, once the NFL season is over. The new schedule begins Dec. 26th.

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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