The non-O&O affiliates of the NBC Television Network are going to file a letter with the FCC Monday indicating their support of the merger of Comcast and NBC Universal. According to Comcast spokesperson Sena Fitzmaurice, the affiliates are happy with conditions that Comcast has promised to follow, and is actually looking forward to the possibilities the merged entity presents in terms of reinvigorating the programming on the broadcast network.
Key promises from Comcast include leaving important sports programming, particularly NFL football games, on the broadcast network. They also want to make sure that Comcast does not use affiliation rights as a lever in retransmission negotiations.
The affiliates came to this conclusion just as the FCC’s public comment period on the merger is concluding. The stations intend to file Monday, 6/21/10, the final day for submissions.
RBR-TVBR observation: Certain watchdogs will no doubt continue to find much to dislike about this merger. But as far as other businesses go, this was the group with the most at stake. Comcast’s ability to pacify the affiliates removes a significant speed bump as the merger continues to work through the regulatory review process.