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Leno, Conan Crack Jokes On Comcast Take-Over of NBC

sg_lenoFinally, Jay Leno is speaking out on the NBC-Comcast venture…well, kind-of.

When news broke of the long-rumored GE-Comcast deal on Thursday, the former host of The Tonight Show was eerily silent while his replacement, Conan O’Brien had a wacky dance number in honor of his new overlords.

Maybe it just took Leno to warm up because on Friday, he cracked a few well-timed jokes.

‘The Big show business story is NBC has been sold! The Comcast Cable Company has bought a controlling interest in NBC for $37 billion dollars. See, this is the TV industry’s version of Cash For Clunkers.

Comcast announced the deal yesterday. Not a moment too soon. NBC was just about to burn this place down for the insurance money.

The merger combines the nation’s leading provider of cable television service with America’s most pathetic broadcast network. So the two will form a union. Kevin Eubanks says, “I got sold again?” I’m so glad you did that joke and not me.

The deal announced Thursday is expected to close in nine months to a year if regulators and shareholders approve. GE would first buy Vivendi’s 20 percent stake in NBC Universal for $5.8 billion. GE and Comcast would then form a NBC Universal joint venture, with Comcast owning a 51 percent stake.

Comcast, which is based in Philadelphia, would pay $6.5 billion in cash to GE and contribute $7.25 billion worth of cable channels it owns.

GE would retain a 49 percent stake, with the option of unloading half its stake in 3½ years and all of it in seven years. The new NBC Universal would borrow $9.1 billion and pay that amount to GE.

Consumer groups already are worried that Comcast would wield too much power over entertainment. Congressional hearings are being planned. Although the government probably won’t block a deal outright, regulators could prohibit Comcast from, for instance, denying rival subscription-TV services such as DirecTV access to NBC channels and other popular programming.

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