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NBC TV Chief Gaspin to Leave After Comcast Takes Over

Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Jeff Gaspin, chairman of NBC Universal TV Entertainment, said he will step down after Comcast Corp. assumes control of the television, film and theme-park company.

Gaspin, who oversees the cable and broadcast operations, said in a memo today that he couldn’t agree on a role in the new company during discussions with Comcast Chief Operating Officer Steve Burke, who will become chief executive officer at NBC Universal.

“As is his prerogative, Steve has determined that he wants to move in a different direction,” Gaspin told employees.

Comcast plans to announce a new management team at NBC Universal as soon as this week, people with knowledge of the matter said on Nov. 12. Robert Greenblatt, former programming chief at CBS Corp.’s Showtime network, will oversee NBC’s TV entertainment operations, they said.

Bonnie Hammer, president of cable entertainment and production at NBC Universal, will retain oversight of networks including USA and SyFy, and add Comcast’s E! Entertainment, the people said. Lauren Zalaznick will remain head of NBC’s women-focused Bravo and Oxygen networks, gain NBC’s Spanish-language Telemundo and add Comcast’s Style network, they said.

Universal’s theme parks and movie studio will continue to be led by Ron Meyer, the people said. Longtime NBC Sports chief Dick Ebersol, NBC News President Steve Capus and CNBC President Mark Hoffman also will stay on, they said.

Gaspin, who started in NBC’s finance department 19 years ago, became chairman of television entertainment in 2009. This year, he presided over Conan O’Brien’s departure from the network and the reinstallation of Jay Leno as host of “The Tonight Show.” Earlier in his career, Gaspin helped build NBC’s cable operation.

Comcast, the largest U.S. cable company, plans to combine its pay-TV channels with NBC after acquiring a 51 percent in the combined company. The company’s purchase of NBC is awaiting federal regulatory approval.

Comcast, based in Philadelphia, rose 16 cents to $20.59 today in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares have added 22 percent this year.

GE, based in Fairfield, Connecticut, fell 5 cents to $16.20 on the New York Stock Exchange, and has gained 7.1 percent this year.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Ronald Grover in Los Angeles at rgrover5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rob Golum at rgolum@bloomberg.net

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