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Posts Tagged ‘Jeffrey Immelt’

‘Pimped Out’ Returns. New Clinton Book Details Old Cable News Firestorm

shuster“Clinton Inc.,” another new book about the former, and perhaps future, White House occupants dredges up a cable news moment that regular readers of this site will recall.

In February 2008, as the Democratic primary for president was heating up, then-MSNBC anchor David Shuster waded into the debate about the Clinton family dynamic and how it plays out on the campaign trail. “Doesn’t it seem like Chelsea’s sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?,” Shuster asked.

That line set off a firestorm from the Clinton camp to the highest levels of NBC and even its corporate parent at the time. Politico reports on an excerpt from the book by Daniel Halper:

According to a source close to the situation, the Clintons called people on the board of NBC’s parent company General Electric to say, “Well, this is outrageous, how NBC News and MSNBC are handling this, and we need to do something about it.” Before long, GE’s chairman Jeffrey Immelt was on the phone with Jeff Zucker, the president and CEO of NBC Universal at the time, and (former NBC News president) Steve Capus asking, “What the hell is going on over there? Why are my board members talking about the reporter, and why is your reporter referring to Chelsea as a prostitute?”

Shuster was suspended for the remark. His employment with MSNBC came to an abrupt end in April 2010 when it was revealed that he took part in the taping of a pilot for CNN. Shuster had been with MSNBC since 2002 following a six-year run at Fox News Channel. He is now an anchor with Al Jazeera America. Ironically, Chelsea Clinton would go on to work as a special correspondent for NBC News.

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Brian Williams & Jimmy Fallon Host Event Honoring…. their Future Boss?

Williams.jpgThe Ad Council announced today that NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams and Late Night host Jimmy Fallon (seen together slow-jamming the news) will co-host the 57th Annual Public Service Award Dinner.

This year’s event honors Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation.

Comcast is in the process of acquiring a majority stake in NBC-Universal.

Previous recipients of the Annual Public Service Award include Time Warner’s Dick Parsons and former president of NBCU and vice-chairman of GE Bob Wright

The event will be held November 17 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York.

Who’ll Broadcast Sochi 2014?

NBCU has one more Olympics after Vancouver — the London Summer games in 2012. And as NBC wraps up its coverage of the XXI Winter Olympics tonight, we’re left to wonder who will broadcast the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia? The IOC had planned to conduct the bidding process this spring, but could delay it due to the recession.

We asked ABC News president David Westin the other day if he’d like to see the games return to his network: “That’s really a question for [president of ABC Sports & ESPN] George Bodenheimer. Would I love to have the numbers? I’d love to have them,” said Westin, adding, “But as a shareholder would I want to have a $250 million dollar loss? I’m not so sure.”

NBC bid $2.201 billion for the Vancouver and London games in 2003. Late last year, GE chairman Jeffrey Immelt said he expected NBC would lose “a couple hundred million bucks” on the games. NBC earned $75 million on the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Games.


NBC Olympics production facility in Vancouver.

(Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

As Jeff Immelt was trying to Broker MSNBC-FNC Feud, He Was Meeting to Sell Control of NBCU

ImmeltAiles_12.4.bmpAround the time GE’s Jeffrey Immelt decided it was the right time to sell a controlling interest in NBCU, he was also meeting with Fox News chairman Roger Ailes trying to broker a ceasefire between Ailes’ network and MSNBC. As the NYTimes reported yesterday, the Comcast deal came to pass this summer during the Allen & Company media summit:

The secret meeting was set for an early July afternoon in a condominium along the ninth hole of a golf course in Sun Valley, Idaho. Jeffrey R. Immelt, General Electric’s chief executive, arrived first, taking care to avoid being spotted by his own employee, Jeff Zucker, the chief executive of NBC Universal, who was mingling with other executives nearby.

This summer also saw the culmination of a year’s worth of work trying to tamp down the verbal war between Fox News and MSNBC opinion hosts. As TVNewser reported in early August:

Then, earlier this year, a high level representative from GE, fearing another leak, reached out to a senior executive at Fox News. Sources say this led to a series of direct confidential conversations between the GE Chairman Immelt and Fox News chairman Ailes, which continued well into June. These conversations were kept confidential until today. An agreement was made to end all personal attacks.

During the town hall yesterday at 30 Rock, Immelt brought up the FNC-MSNBC storyline as it pertained to him. As reported by MediaDecoder’s Brian Stelter Immelt said about the timing of the Comcast deal: “There’s never a right or wrong time. It’s not like you’re walking down the street one day and have a sudden epiphany, ‘Ah, now is the time.’ You had a particularly tough time with Bill O’Reilly the night before – ‘I can’t take it any more. Let’s go!’ It’s just not the way these things work.”

General Electric, Vivendi Agree on NBCU Stake, Paving Way for Comcast Deal

Comcast’s quest to own a controlling interest in NBC Universal cleared another hurdle tonight. Multiple outlets are reporting General Electric has reached an agreement to buy the 20% of NBCU it doesn’t already own.

The New York Times:

Under terms of the deal, G.E. will buy Vivendi’s 20 percent stake in NBC Universal for about $5.8 billion. It removes one of the few remaining hurdles in its plan to sell control of the television and movie company to Comcast in a $30 billion agreement that reflects the changing landscape of broadcast television.

The Wall Street Journal:

GE, which owns 80% of NBC Universal, reached an agreement after its chief executive, Jeffrey Immelt, held face-to-face negotiations in Paris with Vivendi Chief Executive Jean-Bernard Levy last week, the people said. The two sides reached a verbal agreement on the major deal elements over the weekend and were documenting the final details Monday, said these people.

The Associated Press:

That would pave the way for GE to sell a 51 percent stake in the TV and movie company to Comcast Corp., the largest U.S. cable TV provider. That deal, which would make Philadelphia-based Comcast one of the nation’s largest entertainment companies, is valued at about $30 billion.


“It worked out a little higher than what I had anticipated,” said Tuna Amobi, a New York-based analyst at Standard & Poor’s who covers the entertainment industry. “Vivendi was able to squeeze out-an additional $250 million.” GE also agreed to pay Paris-based Vivendi as much as $2 billion if the separate GE-Comcast transaction doesn’t close by the end of 2010, said one of the people.

Katie Couric & Brooks Perlin at Obama’s First State Dinner

CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric was among a handful of media types at tonight’s state dinner at the White House. And, as features in a slideshow, Couric made a rare public appearance with her boyfriend Brooks Perlin.


The TimesJeff Zeleny has the full guest list, which includes Jeffrey Immelt, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Gayle King, who is the focus of tomorrow’s “So What Do You Do?” interview on

Jeff Immelt: ‘I Hate Being No. 4′

GE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt, at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco this week was responding to a question about whether NBC’s lackluster primetime performance had anything to do with GE potentially giving up controlling interest in the news/entertainment company. “I hate being No. 4,” Immelt said, adding “I assume we can be No. 1 again.”

O’Reilly Follows Big Ratings Night with Slamming of “Evil Empire” GE

oreilly2_8-11.jpgMonday night’s “O’Reilly Factor” was the leader of a big ratings night for FNC. Bill O’Reilly saw his first 1 million-plus viewer telecast in the A25-54 demographic for the year (1.07M A25-54, 3.81M Total Viewers). In prime-time Total Viewers, FNC averaged 3.107M with none of it’s programs dipping below 1 million viewers between 5pmET and midnight (even the 11pm rebroadcast of O’Reilly had 1.657M Total). Interestingly, it was all on a night we noted for O’Reilly’s trumpeting how strong the FNC ratings have been.

O’Reilly followed that up with today’s show and heavy criticism of GE. First showing images and statistics of American soldiers injured by IEDs, O’Reilly then pointed to an FBI investigation into American companies who may have shipped parts to a foreign company called Corezing International, which were eventually used for roadside bombs. He then said, “The Factor has been told, but can’t confirm that the General Electric corporation is under suspicion in the case,” and summarized the previous reports he’s made about Iran, GE, and CEO Jeffrey Immelt. (Video below.)

Shortly after, O’Reilly had a segment we’d previously heard might be aired last night: a look at comparisons a recent NYTimes column had drawn between GE’s accounting and the now-notorious accounting practices at Enron. Glenn Beck made an appearance to reiterate what he broadcast on his own show Monday and had the following conversation about GE with O’Reilly:

O’Reilly: We think they are a…evil empire? I don’t know.

Beck: Wait a minute, do you really?

O’Reilly: You know, I don’t like what they do. I don’t like how they handle themselves. I don’t like NBC Cews. I don’t like any of that, but I may be overstating it.

Beck: They may not be evil?

O’Reilly: As evil as I think they are.

Beck: I love this, America. You have got two pretty smart people sitting here having a discussion whether a company is evil. I think there is a good chance.

O’Reilly: They are polluters. They have distorted their news agency to be — promote a presidential candidate. They gotta pay 50 million in fines for cooking the books. A whole bunch of other things in play. I mean, you tell me.

If there’s actually a cease-fire, it’s the worst one in the history of armistices. Videos after the jump.

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Do MSNBC and Fox News Have a Deal?


> Update: The NYTimes is running a front-page story on this tomorrow morning. In it, Brian Stelter writes:

…even though the feud had increased the viewing audience of both programs, [Murdoch and Immelt] instructed lieutenants to arrange a cease-fire, according to four people who work at the companies and have direct knowledge of the deal.

The details of the peace plan were left to [NBCU CEO Jeff] Zucker and [News Corp. EVP Gary] Ginsberg, who agreed that hosts on Fox and MSNBC would resist lobbing mortars at each other or their parent companies, according to two employees with direct knowledge of the agreement.

Late tonight, a source who was privy to discussions between the two companies told TVNewser, “There’s more to this story than is being reported considering that the Murdoch-Immelt meeting was a small part of the larger negotiations at work. The reality is that the people taking credit in the New York Times story aren’t the ones who deserve it. In fact it’s those who chose not to put themselves in the spotlight who deserve the recognition”

> More: InsideCableNews reveals what he’d been hearing for more than a month…

> Our original post:

A few weeks ago, a TVNewser reader emailed and wondered:

Fox News lately in their media montages is leaving out NBC News. Take Bill O’Reilly yesterday on MJ death coverage; they showed CBS, ABC, CNN and Fox but not NBC. Is there something going on behind the scenes between NBC and Fox? Maybe a cease and desist order for showing off air?

At the time, we asked around but were told by all sides there was no deal, cease & desist or anything of the sort.

Well, this afternoon the LATimes’ Joe Flint reports talks were had by the chairmen of the companies that own the channels. “News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch and General Electric chief Jeffrey Immelt met up at — appropriately enough — the Microsoft CEO summit in Redmond, Wash., to figure out how to defuse tensions between the two channels.”

And there’s more…

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Did NBCU Freeze Out Nielsen Business Media After Unfavorable Report?

zucker_6-8.jpgDeadlineHollywoodDaily’s Nikki Finke writes a lengthy story about the lengths GE and NBCU have reportedly gone to ban access to Nielsen Business Media and The Hollywood Reporter in the wake of an unfavorable story about the GE stockholder meeting.

The story, written by Paul Bond, was headlined “GE shareholders outraged over MSNBC bias; Microphone cut off,” and quoted several unnamed shareholders. It was picked up by the Drudge Report and many media blogs, including TVNewser.

Finke reports the ban was initially “ordered” by GE Chairman Jeffrey Immelt, and “after a few days, the ban was reduced to GE’s NBC Universal which chief Jeff Zucker carried out against Nielsen Business Media’s The Hollywood Reporter and lasted six weeks. My NBC Universal sources believe the ban was lifted yesterday.”

Gary Sheffer, GE’s Executive Director of Corporate Communications, responded to Finke: “I just read your post on GE and NBCU. Jeff Immelt had no involvement in this matter whatsover. He did not call NBC Universal or anyone else about it. In fact, he had no knowledge of The Hollywood Reporter story in question.”