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Comcast bets big on NBCU. TV pilot season in full bloom.

February 13, 2013|By Joe Flint
  • Comcast goes all in on NBCUniversal, home of "The Voice."
Comcast goes all in on NBCUniversal, home of "The Voice." (NBC )

After the coffee. Before seeing if Christopher Dorner coverage got higher ratings in Los Angeles than the State of the Union address.

The Skinny: Is it "Happy Gilmore" week on AMC? Every time I flip to AMC that Adam Sandler classic is playing. Wednesday's headlines include Comcast's move to buy out General Electric's stake in NBCUniversal, and Netflix makes another push into original programming. Also a peek at TV pilot season. Sorry, movie buffs, there was a shortage of real cinematic news today.

Daily Dose: The Television Bureau of Advertising, a cheerleader -- oops, I mean marketing association -- for TV stations, issued a report noting which cities got big ratings with Sunday's Grammy Awards. Most interesting is that nine of the top 10 markets with strong numbers were in time zones in the East and Midwest that carried the show live. No West Coast stations, which aired the show on tape delay, made the cut. The Grammys are one of the few remaining big awards shows to not be aired live in the West.

No buyer's remorse. NBC's recent ratings slump isn't worrying its majority owner Comcast. On Tuesday, Comcast announced it was buying General Electric Co.'s 49% stake of NBC parent NBCUniversal for $16.7 billion. The move was hardly a surprise as Comcast had an option to buy out GE's holdings as part of its initial deal to take control of the company. The timing is a little faster than some had expected, but Comcast has made no secret of its desire to become the solo owner of the media giant. While NBC is in a rebuilding mode, many of NBCU's cable properties, including USA Network, are humming right along. Still, there are long-term challenges facing the traditional media industry as new platforms and technology change the way people consume content. Analysis of the deal from the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal

Little dreams. Continuing its push into original content, Netflix has struck a deal with DreamWorks Animation for a new kids' TV show that will be based on the production company's upcoming theatrical movie "Turbo," about a very fast snail. Some of Netflix's most popular offerings include repeats of kids' programming from Nickelodeon, so seeking to offer its own fresh shows for children is a logical next step. It also comes as rival Amazon has several programs for kids in the pipeline. More on the Netflix-DreamWorks Animation accord from the Los Angeles Times and New York Times.

It's that time of year again. Every February brings a groundhog to tell us how long winter will last. It also brings out tons of script writers and producers hopeful to get a new TV show off the ground. Yes, it's pilot season. Tracking the day-to-day activity of pilot season is tedious work, so here is an overview of some projects that have "buzz" (hate that word) from USA Today.

To binge or conserve, that is the question. Leaders from Netflix and HBO offered differing views on the concept of binge viewing. One of those annoying phrases that has gained acceptance over the last two years, binge viewing refers to people who consume multiple episodes of a particular show in a short period of time. Netflix embraced binge viewers releasing all 13 episodes of its new series "House of Cards" at once. But HBO said it does not necessarily see this as a growing trend. More on this crucial debate from Variety. By the way, I'm binge-listening to Mozart while doing this column.

It's not April Fools' Day yet. We end today's report with an Associated Press story about how some pranksters managed to get a bogus report onto a couple of Montana TV stations about dead bodies rising from their graves to attack the living. The "Walking Dead"-like news flash even prompted a few calls to local authorities to see if the story was true. Hope the pranksters had a good laugh because my hunch is the authorities won't have a sense of humor when they issue punishment for the joke.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: A new movie based on the work of Charlies Bukowski is providing a little boost to local production, probably primarily in dive bars.

Follow me on Twitter. I know what I know. @JBFlint.

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