Just as Comcast moves forward with its plan to replace the GE sign atop the former RCA building with its own name and the NBC Peacock logo, NBCUniversal today announced a major overhaul and rehabilitation of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. A desire to “celebrate the storied past of one of the most iconic buildings in entertainment history,” the company said, the plan calls for the re-creation of the original Art Deco-era design of the NBC portion of the lobby while adding high-tech upgrades “to reinforce 30 Rock as a state-of-the art entertainment destination – and a center for the creative industries for many decades to come.”
The sweeping 16-foot-wide, marble Grand Stair that originally led from the lobby to the mezzanine level will return, along with a recreation of the Mezzanine Rotunda, which will be a “grand circular reception lobby in the style of the original 1930s-era lobby design.” Also in the works, a “Peacock Lounge,” i.e., waiting room for audience hopefuls for Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night With Seth Meyers and The Meredith Vieira Show.
“The re-development of the Grand Stair and Mezzanine Rotunda, coupled with the modernization of our studios, is an homage to the original designers of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, and an affirmation of our belief that the true golden age of this legendary broadcast facility lies not only in the past, but in … Read More »
“On Friday, May 2nd, former Good Morning America colleagues Josh Elliott and Sam Champion will reunite for the first time live on air from The Kentucky Derby,” The Weather Channel boasted cheekily today. Upping the cheek, the channel said Elliott will join Champion at 9 AM ET from Churchill Downs live during its flagship morning show AMHQ With Sam Champion “for a trip down memory lane.” They’ll also talk Derby weather and cuisine.
NBC poached Elliott in March, ending an intense negotiation between ABC News and the GMA news anchor, in which Elliott, who had been making about $1.2 million in salary, turned down an offer to stay with the show for about $4 million, raising his asking price to $10 mil. NBC got a strong sports guy who’d previously worked at ESPN. Per terms of his exit, Elliott cannot appear on NBC’s Today show for six months. He was the second member of the No. 1 rated morning infotainment show’s ensemble team to depart for an NBCUniversal property. In December, NBCU successfully poached longtime GMA weatherman Champion, who is now a bigwig at Weather Channel.
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Sam Champion’s Weather Channel show America’s Morning Headquarters opened to a cloudy future Monday. An average of 207,000 total viewers (64,000 in the news demo) caught Champion’s unveiling from 7-10 AM ET. That’s a 12% decline in total viewers compared with the network’s prior four-week average in the block of time and a 14% demo drop. Champion’s unveiling attracted his biggest crowd at 8 AM: 240,000 viewers (78,000 in the demo). That said, the prior four-week average in that hour was 255,000, so Champion’s best was down 6% compared to the network’s recent performance. It was much the same at 7 AM (199,000 viewers, down 13%) and at 9 AM (183,000, down 21%).
Related: Sam Champion Leaves ‘GMA’ For Weather Channel
Numbers for other morning shows aren’t apples to apples, because many air 6-9 AM. That said, Champion’s former TV home, ABC’s Good Morning America, logged 5.77 million total viewers Monday morning, according to fast stats, while CNN’s New Day averaged 452,000, MSNBC’s Morning Joe brewed up 339,000, and Fox News’ Fox & Friends dominated with 1.13 million.
Related: TCA: Weather Channel Tells Critics DirecTV Is Putting Americans At Risk
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And we have the first major syndicated talk show contender for fall 2014. Former The View, Today and departing Who Wants To Be A Millionaire host Meredith Vieira is set to do a pilot for a daytime syndicated talk show at NBCUniversal Domestic TV Distribution, which is targeted for a launch in fall 2014. Vieira entered talks with NBCU for the project shortly after she announced in January that she was leaving syndicated game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire after 11 years. In headlining a syndicated daytime talk show, Vieira will follow in the footsteps of her Today predecessors Jane Pauley and Katie Couric. But I hear that Vieira’s talk show would be lighter and more entertaining, something her 11-year Millionaire stint certainly had prepared her for. Such a show could go well with The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Steve Harvey on the NBC stations. The NBC station group has not committed to a new show for next fall to succeed freshman Jeff Probst, which is not getting renewed. It is quite possible that the stations will keep the 2 PM slot warm with temporary programming (NBCU’s Access Hollywood spinoff, Access Hollywood Live, has been rumored as a possibility), until the Meredith Vieira show arrives in fall 2014. It would create a cohesive entertaining talk show block from 2-5 PM with Vieira, Harvey, who also hosts a syndicated game show, … Read More »
The CBS, NBC Universal and Sony-owned Australian pay-TV channels TV1 and SF have pink-slipped four senior executives in a restructuring. Out are Director of Programming and Acquisitions Selena Crowley, Creative Director Will Usic, Publicity Director Michael Shephard and Marketing Director Catherine Field. TV1 stressed the decision to streamline the operating structure did not reflect on individual performance. Long-serving executive Justin Arnall takes over programming responsibilities for both channels. In an email to industry friends Crowley she will return to TV1 next week to begin unspecified project work on the channels. SF, the recently rebranded SCI FI channel, will soon air the exclusive Australian premieres of Todd and The Book of Pure Evil and new seasons of Warehouse 13 and Lost Girl. - Don Groves
The politically progressive radio talk show host doesn’t have specific plans to return to TV now that he has been dumped from MSNBC Live. But Uygur says he “would work on another cable news channel — I’d work at MSNBC again” as long as it would ”be on my terms.” For now his only concrete plan with Current is to appear tonight on Countdown With Keith Olbermann. But Uygur added in a press conference this morning that he “might have news for you in a little while about (his weekday show, The Young Turks, on) You Tube.” Uygur says that “I’m a new media guy….my plan is to dominate media from new media, not old media.” Uygur continued the blasts at MSNBC that he began last night in a video saying that the news network is “obsessed with access (to newsmakers), and you have to play ball to get access.” MSNBC chief Phil Griffin told him to change his tone and become “part of the establishment,” Uygur says. He says he doesn’t believe that Comcast, which bought a controlling stake in NBCUniversal in January, was angling to push him off. Uygur says it’s “endemic to the (media) system” that “if you’re good to the powers that be and soft on the government you’re more likely to advance.” He also said that his departure had nothing to do with the ratings that the Rev. Al Sharpton has been generating as a fill-in host … Read More »
Word is spreading that Hulu has received a buyout offer and is taking it seriously. The Wall Street Journal’s hearing the same thing according to a report on its web site that sources “people familiar with the matter.” Although details including the name of the potential buyer haven’t surfaced, executives who track Hulu closely warn that a deal could be tricky to negotiate. The company depends on TV shows from Disney, News Corp and Comcast’s NBCUniversal, which also own most of the equity along with Providence Equity Partners. The Justice Department and FCC required Comcast to give up the Hulu board seats, but continue providing it with programming, as a condition for approving the NBCU acquisition in January.
But Hulu’s owners may be willing to back away from the venture, which CEO Jason Kilar has said was profitable last year with revenues of about $260 million. People who want to stream videos from broadband are flocking to Netflix, not its $8-a-month rival Hulu Plus. Last year, Hulu scrapped its plans to go public, in part because the owners couldn’t agree on its strategy. Outsiders say that lots of companies might be interested in Hulu, with Amazon, Google and News Corp considered among the most logical candidates. Google has begun to talk to Hollywood studios about a plan to spend about $100 million on original entertainment for a collection of channels it wants to create on YouTube.
GE this morning reported its 3rd quarter earnings for NBC Universal and revenues were flat at $4.1 billion with operating profit down 15%. “But NBCU revenue and operating profit were favorable compared to the year-ago period after adjusting for 2009 transactions without comparable events in 2010,” the parent company said. GE is selling a majority stake in NBCU to Comcast in a deal still waiting for U.S. regulatory approval.
As far back as a year ago this October, I first reported that Comcast Corp COO/No. 2 Steve Burke would be running NBC Universal and replacing Jeff Zucker. And in November I explained that, because Burke would have his hands full there, Neil Smits from Charter Communication had been hired to assume Burke’s Comcast Cable Communications responsibilities. So today’s announcement is more than year old news to regular readers of Deadline Hollywood. Still, today’s official announcement really hits Zucker where it hurts coming just 2 1/2 weeks after he was shitcanned by Burke. Zucker on Friday decided to reveal his firing because he’d just finished negotiating his severance package. He sent an email to NBCU staff and told reporters Burke had made it clear that Comcast wanted to move on at the close of the deal so Zucker had to move off the top job.
Unlike Jeff who was widely regarded in Hollywood and NYC as a pretender to the throne, Steve is true showbiz royalty by blood. He’s the son of Dan Burke, the former president of Capital Cities/ABC before it was bought by Disney. The younger Burke graduated with an MBA from Harvard Business School then joined Disney in 1986 and founded Disney Stores, then served as president of Euro Disney. He kept rising and became ABC broadcasting president. But left 10 years ago to join Comcast, where Steve was the architect of the largest cable company’s 2004 hostile takeover attempt of Disney. (Burke’s loathing of FrankenEisner was an open secret.) I recall that, during the Mouse House bid, Burke pledged to return Disney’s … Read More »
Broadcasting & Cable just reported that the FCC says Comcast/NBCU returned incomplete answers and did not follow the directions in responding to a May FCC request for a bunch of information. Wanted was everything from organizational structure and channel lineups to copies of all programming agreements and detailed discussions of all deliberations in making content available online. “The commission sent letters to the two Thursday, informing them that the FCC would put the brakes on vetting the merger until such time as they had complied fully,” the trade says. This is Day 50 of the FCC’s 180-day vetting — and the 2nd time that the process was stopped. Comments — positive, negative, inbetween — were due Monday.