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Is NBC Nightly News Going to One Hour?

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In his story about what the NBC News brands mean to NBCU’s bottom line, the NYTimes’ Bill Carter floats the idea that Nightly News may be expanded to an hour.

But NBC’s surge in the evening has been strong enough for the news division president, Steve Capus, to suggest that NBC is positioned to be the first network to expand to a full-hour newscast. (He did not set any timetable for that move.)

In addition to listing some of the reasons behind Nightly News regaining, and holding the #1 spot (was it that SNL hosting gig?), Carter’s story reveals what the NBC News stable means to NBC Universal.

Official figures are not disclosed, but a senior NBC executive estimated that NBC News, consisting of the broadcast news division, the all-news cable channel MSNBC and a much-viewed Web site, MSNBC.com, supplied about 13 percent of the overall profit of its parent company, NBC Universal.

In January, NBC Universal announced a yearly profit of $3.1 billion. That would put the NBC News contribution at over $400 million.

CNBC, the Weather Channel and Telemundo are not counted in the news profits. But with those outlets added, the percentage of contribution to NBC Universal’s profits climbs to 25 percent – or about $775 million.

What Carter does not mention is how the staff cuts at NBC News in December, part of an effort to cut $500 million from the NBCU budget, will assist NBCU’s bottom line in 2009.

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