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February 10, 2006 | Kim Christensen, Times Staff Writer
In the first known swap of a primo sportscaster for a geriatric cartoon critter, Walt Disney Co. is trading ABC's Al Michaels to NBC for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Oswald who? It turns out the big-eared bunny was one of Walt Disney's first animated characters, a star in his own right before Mickey Mouse was even a gleam in his creator's eye. But Disney lost the rabbit after he found out that Universal Studios, now part of NBC Universal, owned the rights to develop the character.
January 27, 2011 | By Meg James, Los Angeles Times
In the NBC sitcom "30 Rock," the self-absorbed television chief executive, played by Alec Baldwin, obsesses over what will happen to his career when his company ? NBC ? is taken over by Kabletown, a fictional cable systems operator from Philadelphia. On Friday the real-life cable company from Philadelphia ? Comcast Corp. ? assumes control of NBC Universal, the real-life entertainment colossus that is featured in the show. And while Steve Burke, the new chief executive of NBC Universal, is a fan of "30 Rock," one of his priorities will be to reform the NBC Universal corporate culture, one that has condoned politicking and aggrandizement, the very workplace parodied by the sitcom.
December 1, 2009 | By Meg James
Media colossus NBC Universal is a giant step closer to being sold to the nation's largest cable company in a proposed $29-billion deal that could reshape the entertainment industry and lead to changes in how consumers get their movies and TV shows. The last hurdle in Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp.'s bid to become one of the country's most powerful entertainment companies was overcome when General Electric Co. -- which has owned NBC for nearly a quarter-century -- reached an exit strategy with its French partner Vivendi.
December 4, 2008 | Meg James, James is a Times staff writer.
French media conglomerate Vivendi plans to keep its 20% stake in NBC Universal -- at least for another year. Vivendi's decision Wednesday not to exercise an option to sell its minority interest eases a potential headache for General Electric Co., which owns 80% of the television network, movie studio and theme park business. GE has the right to buy Vivendi's stake before it is offered to the public. For GE, the timing would not have been ideal. The Fairfield, Conn.
March 4, 2008 | Meg James, Times Staff Writer
Beth Comstock, the marketing executive who was dispatched to NBC Universal's headquarters two years ago but never fit into its culture, is returning to its corporate parent, General Electric Co. She will assume her previous job as GE's chief marketing officer and take on new duties. Comstock was sent to NBC Universal in late 2005 by GE Chief Executive Jeffrey R. Immelt to prod the company into the Internet Age.
October 9, 2003 | Richard Verrier and Meg James, Times Staff Writers
The long and often tortured script for Universal Studios was put to bed Wednesday as French-owned Vivendi Universal and General Electric Co. finalized an agreement to marry their entertainment assets in a deal that could spur far-reaching changes in Hollywood. As was widely anticipated, the two companies agreed to create an entity that combines the Universal movie studio, theme parks and TV businesses, including the Sci Fi and USA cable channels, with GE's television operations.
August 3, 2009 | Meg James
Not long ago, Jeff Gaspin was known inside NBC Universal as a "man without a country." The executive floated from job to job, collecting clunky titles such as executive vice president for alternative series, longform, specials and program strategy. No one can say that now. Last week, the man without a country gained an empire as the reserved 48-year-old executive was thrust into the No. 2 job at NBC Universal, directly under Chief Executive Jeff Zucker.
July 7, 2008 | From Times Wire Services
NBC Universal and two partners said Sunday that they had reached a deal to buy the Weather Channel from Landmark Communications Inc., ending a drawn-out process that had attracted interest from several major media companies. The purchase price was about $3.5 billion, according to a person who asked not to be identified because the terms weren't made public.
August 11, 2007 | Meg James, Times Staff Writer
Oxygen Media -- an independent cable channel whose owners include talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, Oxygen Chief Executive Geraldine Laybourne and billionaire Paul Allen -- is on the auction block. One potential suitor: NBC Universal. NBC declined to comment on the potential sale, which was first reported in the Hollywood Reporter. An Oxygen spokeswoman confirmed that the privately owned cable channel, which debuted seven years ago and is now available in about two-thirds of U.S.
February 4, 2007 | Meg James, Times Staff Writer
Jeff Zucker, the fast-rising television executive who made his name as executive producer of NBC's morning show "Today," will be named chief executive of NBC Universal this week, according to four people at the company. Zucker, 41, will succeed Bob Wright, who has spent nearly 21 years building the company brick by brick, transforming "the peacock" from a stand-alone TV network into a sprawling entertainment empire with broadcast and cable channels, a Hollywood movie studio and theme parks.
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