Originally published: September 26, 2010
Last updated: September 26, 2010 - 11:04am
NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker said he will be leaving NBCU as soon as the merger with Comcast is a done deal. So the timing of his departure now depends on the Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission completing their reviews of the proposed merger.
The FCC's current informal shot clock on the merger has a target date of completion as Nov. 24, the day before Thanksgiving. That would definitely be a day of Thanksgiving for Comcast, which wants the deal done as soon as possible. Of course, there is also the possibility that Justice or the FCC could impose potential deal-breaker conditions like, say, spin-offs of the stations or regional sports nets in markets where they overlap, or public interest conditions that Comcast could not live with. Either scenario is considered unlikely, however. Zucker and Comcast Chairman Brian Roberts became a familiar tag team in Washington in 2010 as they testified in front of various committees in defense of the deal. Andrew Schwartzman of Media Access Project opposes the merger and did his own sparring with Zucker during the hearings. At the time, Schwartzman said the merger would be the biggest media marriage since Lucy and Desi. Zucker countered that he only wished for those days, with three networks dividing up the audience. Schwartzman said Friday he did not think Zucker's announcement would have any impact on the merger proceedings, suggesting it had already been factored in. "I think it was pretty clear that his days were numbered," he said.
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