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Author Topic:   NBC Universal
NEWSFLASH SUMMER INTERN
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posted April 21, 2004 10:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH SUMMER INTERN   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH SUMMER INTERN     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
FTC APPROVES NBC-UNIVERSAL MERGER

Marking a major step towards NBC's entry into the movie business, the FTC on Tuesday gave its unconditional blessing to the GE-owned company's acquisition of Vivendi Universal's entertainment properties, which include Universal Studios. "With this important step behind us, we will move quickly toward a close of the acquisition," NBC Chairman Robert C. Wright said in a statement. The combined company is to be called NBC Universal.

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NEWSFLASH SUMMER INTERN
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posted April 22, 2004 10:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH SUMMER INTERN   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH SUMMER INTERN     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
DILLER MOVES OUT OF THE WAY OF NBC-UNIVERSAL MERGER

Removing what appeared to be the last roadblock to the merger of NBC and Universal, Barry Diller and Vivendi on Wednesday resolved their dispute over the sale. The complicated settlement removes the possibility that Diller might use his considerable interests in Vivendi's entertainment properties to block the sale. News reports indicated that the terms of the announced agreement were vague about whether Diller would become a significant shareholder in the new NBC-Universal.

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NEWSFLASH
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posted April 23, 2004 10:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
TWO TOP CANDIDATES FOR LEADING JOB AT NBC QUIT

Surprising many in the industry, the two executives who were considered to be the top candidates to become head of syndication for NBC Universal when the merger is completed suddenly resigned Thursday. Ed Wilson, who had been president of NBC Enterprises and Syndication, said that he simply wanted to work in a different area of the business. Today's Los Angeles Times said that the other possible candidate for the job, Steve Rosenberg, currently president of Universal Domestic Television, quit because he was "disgusted" with the way the selection process was being handled. In reporting on the dual resignations, the Times commented that they "disrupted NBC's plans for a smooth marriage with Universal."

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indiedan
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posted May 03, 2004 05:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NBC Entertainment promotes Reilly to president
The postmerger executive roster at NBC and Universal is starting to take shape with Monday's announcement that Kevin Reilly has been promoted to NBC Entertainment president. Reilly, who joined NBC from FX last year as president primetime development, will oversee all primetime, late night and daytime programming and development for the peacock as well as scheduling and strategic planning. Reilly succeeds Jeff Zucker in the role of NBC Entertainment president. Zucker, currently president NBC Entertainment, News and Cable Group, is in line for expanded responsibilities, and probably a new title, once the NBC-Uni merger is formally completed later this month.
Reilly will continue to report to Zucker, who is relocating to New York after three years as the peacock's Burbank-based entertainment chief.

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indiedan
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posted May 12, 2004 10:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NBC Closes Merger With Universal

Entertainment Business, Creating New Media Conglomerate

The Associated Press

NEW YORK May 12, 2004 NBC closed its deal to merge with the Universal entertainment businesses Wednesday, creating a new media conglomerate that will take its place alongside giants such as Time Warner Inc. and Viacom Inc.

The new company, to be known as NBC Universal, will be led mainly by NBC executives including Bob Wright, the NBC chairman who will become chairman and CEO of the company. Wright will also continue as vice chairman of General Electric Co., NBC's parent company.

The deal brings together television's top-rated network among the 18-49 age group, which advertisers try hardest to reach; a major movie studio; a television production studio; a handful of cable TV channels including USA, Sci-Fi, CNBC and Bravo; and a group of 29 television stations.

Wright said the combination presented a "tremendous growth opportunity for our viewers, advertisers, employees, and GE shareowners."

While not as diverse or large as some of the other major conglomerates, NBC Universal will own several top-quality properties, not least of which is the powerful "Law & Order" franchise, a cash cow for NBC which is produced by Universal's television arm.

The deal also gives NBC a major TV studio, ensuring the network a stable pipeline of future shows and giving it more bargaining power among other media conglomerates in negotiating for shows of its own.

GE will own 80 percent of NBC Universal, while the French media and telecommunications conglomerate Vivendi Universal will own the remaining 20 percent. Vivendi is also getting $3.4 billion in cash in the deal.

Ron Meyer, the head of Universal Studios, will remain at the company as head of the Hollywood studio as well as its associated theme parks.

Several NBC executives will take on larger responsibilities in the new conglomerate, including Randy Falco, who will oversee the company's operations. Rising star Jeff Zucker will oversee all TV programming except for sports, which will be handled by NBC sports chief Dick Ebersol.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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indiedan
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posted May 18, 2004 12:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
PEACOCK SHOWS NEW FEATHERS

NBC became the first network to unveil its fall schedule Monday, promising five new shows in the fall and seven more in mid-season. The network particularly highlighted its Friends spin-off, Joey, starring Matt LeBlanc -- showing the entire pilot -- and the digitally animated Father of the Pride, which features the voices of John Goodman and Carl Reiner. In addition, the network has scheduled three new fall dramas: Medical Investigation, starring Neal McDonough and Kelli Williams; Hawaii, starring Michael Biehn and Sharif Atkins; and LAX, starring Heather Locklear. The network also announced a number of specials for next season, including a two-hour musical based on Dickens' A Christmas Carol, starring Kelsey Grammer as Scrooge, and a four-hour miniseries version of Hercules. (Separately, NBC suddenly yanked the reality series The Restaurant from its current schedule for the rest of the May sweeps.)

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posted May 27, 2004 11:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SITCOMS ARE IN "A CHALLENGED STATE" SAYS NBC EXEC

NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly has acknowledged that the traditional television sitcom is in "a challenged state." The network, which will air only two sitcoms next season -- Scrubs and Will & Grace -- has few comedy shows even in development, and Reilly concedes that there are few time slots that can be given up to showcase them. "There's no need to offer viable comedies in bad time slots that will guarantee failure," he told the Hartford Courant. "Ironically, the best way to put comedy on is to keep it off in the short term."

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indiedan
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posted June 07, 2004 10:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NBC could join MGM bidding fray
By Russ Britt, CBS.MarketWatch.com

LOS ANGELES (CBS.MW) - NBC Universal could join the bidding for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer if the film studio's talks with Sony Entertainment falter, reports said Monday.



Bob Wright, NBC Universal's (GE: news, chart) chief executive, is quoted by AFX as saying he would be interested in acquiring MGM (MGM: news, chart) should it come back on the open market.

"It is a very good library, it's well marketed, and if it were for sale, we would certainly be interested in looking at it," Wright told AFX at a conference in Marrakech, Morocco.

Wright's statement turns the heat up on Sony (SNE: news, chart), which has been in exclusive talks for several weeks with MGM. Sources close to the negotiations have said a $5 billion asking price is not a stumbling block, only Sony's ability to line up financing.

Sony's deadline to conclude exclusive talks ended late last month, but the company asked for a two-week extension. MGM said it would consider it but never has given formal approval for it, sources said.

MGM, however, is continuing to talk with Sony, sources say. Sony is still interested in the studio and is far enough along in talks that it would be difficult for others to catch up.

MGM's primary asset is its 4,200-title film library, the largest of its kind in Hollywood. The studio hasn't made much of a splash in film releases in recent years. Its strategy lately has been to produce lower-budget films with a greater potential for profit.

NBC Universal is not the only suitor waiting in the wings should the Sony-MGM talks fail. Time Warner (TWX: news, chart) has courted MGM over the years but never put together a deal for the studio.

Whether either could match the $5 billion price tag Sony is willing to pay is open to question.

"We haven't got into it in that much detail, but that's quite a bit of money," Wright told AFX.

An NBC Universal-MGM deal would represent a turnabout from last year, when MGM was in the running for the Universal Studio properties. MGM made an all-cash bid for Universal, but Vivendi Universal (V: news, chart) officials wanted the studio in the hands of General Electric, NBC's parent.

GE was up 33 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $31.56 in early trading. MGM was off a penny to $11.85.

Russ Britt is the Los Angeles Bureau Chief for CBS.MarketWatch.com.

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indiedan
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posted June 08, 2004 10:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NBC REPORTS FLAT AD SALES IN UPFRONT

Despite the departure of Friends and Frasier, NBC reported Monday that it has taken in $2.9 billion during the upfront ad campaign. The network credited the success of the Donald Trump reality series The Apprentice and positive reaction to the Friends spinoff Joey for the figure which nearly equals last year's. "Everyone was predicting the collapse of our schedule," NBC Universal TV Network president Randy Falco told the New York Daily News. "We kept Thursday night intact." Although analysts had forecast that the network would raise its rates about 8 percent, it reportedly increased them only 5-6 percent. "NBC is the only network that appears to selling at a [rate] increase less than pre-market projections," media analyst Jack Myers told CNN Monday. Several analysts predicted that all the major networks will wind up their advance ad sales by this afternoon (Tuesday).

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posted July 02, 2004 11:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NBC: "WE MADE A MISTAKE"

The executive producer of the Today show admitted Thursday that he had erred when he stuck to the script and showed Katie Couric playing badminton while rival morning shows Good Morning America on ABC and The Early Show on CBS carried reports from Iraq showing Saddam Hussein making his first court appearance since his arrest seven months ago. "We made a mistake," executive producer Tom Touchet told the Associated Press. "In retrospect, I'd do it completely differently." (The AP report was featured prominently on the MSNBC website. MSNBC is a joint venture of NBC and Microsoft.) "I felt bad about it. It was not the right call," Couric told the New York Daily News. "We don't like to be remiss in covering breaking news." Today producers later updated the show for its feed to the West Coast, substituting the Saddam footage. The error was compounded by the fact that while ABC's Peter Jennings covered the court appearance from the courtroom and Dan Rather from another location in Baghdad (he was reportedly denied access to the courtroom by Iraqi authorities), Tom Brokaw, NBC's top anchor, was already heading back to the U.S.

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posted July 09, 2004 11:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NBC TO DEVOTE THREE HOURS TO EACH PARTY CONVENTION

NBC announced Thursday that it will devote an hour a day to three of the four days of the Democratic and Republican conventions. During the Democratic convention, it will omit coverage on July 27, when Senator Edward Kennedy speaks to the convention. During the Republican convention, it will forego the night that it pays tribute to the late President Reagan. PBS has previously announced that it will air three hours of primetime coverage on all of the convention nights. ABC and CBS said yesterday that they have not yet decided what they'll do.

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indiedan
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posted July 12, 2004 10:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Universal To Release Sexually Explicit Film

Universal is not shying away from distributing the sexually explicit documentary Inside Deep Throat produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment, Daily Variety indicated today (Monday), noting that the studio has agreed to release it unrated early next year. Reporting on the studio's decision, the trade paper commented that the documentary "signals a new direction for Imagine Entertainment," known primarily for family films like How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Nutty Professor, and reflects the eclectic tastes of Grazer, who produced it. In an interview with Variety, Grazer referred to the original Deep Throat as the "most profitable movie ever" and "a cultural phenomenon."

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indiedan
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posted July 12, 2004 10:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NBC's Baby Giant: Telemundo

NBC Universal Chairman Bob Wright has described Telemundo, the company's Spanish-language network as "the biggest thing we've got going now." In an interview with today's (Monday) New York Times, Wright observed that the Hispanic ad market is expanding by at least 10 percent a year and has surpassed $3 billion annually. The network, which has been developing original programming from its Miami headquarters, has received high praise from Merrill Lynch media analyst Jessica Reif Cohen, who told the Times: "Telemundo has done a really good job this year. They have made up all the ground they lost in their first year under NBC. ... They obviously now have the management capabilities and the resources to begin to challenge Univision," which draws about 75 percent of the Hispanic audience.

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posted July 29, 2004 10:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NEWSFLASH SUMMER INTERN   Click Here to Email NEWSFLASH SUMMER INTERN     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NBC Looking at Theatrical Documentaries

Deadline, a documentary film about capital punishment that captured the attention of NBC Universal Chairman and CEO Robert Wright at the Sundance Film Festival this year, will be shown in its entirety on a two-hour Dateline NBC telecast on Friday. Reporting on the planned showing, today's (Thursday) New York Times observed: "It is rare for a broadcast network like NBC to buy a documentary and present it in its entirety, because these networks have news units themselves." Last week, ABC's Primetime was devoted to another documentary, The Staircase, from Maha Productions, which presented behind-the-scenes coverage of the trial of wife killer Michael Peterson -- particularly striking since the trial itself was covered by Dateline in February. In an interview with the Times, Dateline executive director David Corvo commented that the Deadline film "comes in an era where documentaries are blossoming like never before. ... We'll be back at Sundance next year."

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indiedan
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posted August 12, 2004 10:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for indiedan   Click Here to Email indiedan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NBC's Olympics Ads: Going Once, Going ...

Although 2 percent of NBC's Olympics ads remained unsold as of Wednesday, NBC Universal Television Networks Group President Randy Falco told today's (Thursday) New York Daily News: "We will hit our $1 billion goal by Friday. ... We will meet all of our financial goals." The network is expected to realize a profit of $50 million. Some advertising analysts, however, have questioned whether the network will be able to achieve the ratings it promised ad buyers. If it can not, it will be forced to hand over "make goods" to them -- free spots elsewhere on its schedule.

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