(AP) - Eight decades after pioneering the concept of broadcasting, NBC is on the verge of a startling move that illustrates broadcast television's decline.
Cable TV operator Comcast Corp. is expected to buy a controlling stake in NBC Universal, perhaps as early as this week, bringing the network of Johnny Carson, Jerry Seinfeld, Bob Hope, Milton Berle and Tom Brokaw under the corporate control of the company that owns the Golf Channel and E! Entertainment Television.
"This is highly symbolic," said Tim Brooks, who had worked at NBC for 20 years and now writes books on television history.
Starting today, Vivendi SA has an option to sell its 20 percent stake in NBC Universal. Majority owner General Electric Co. is expected to buy it and then sell a 51 percent stake of the entire NBC Universal unit to Comcast, which serves about a quarter of the nation's subscription TV households.
Broadcast people, the folks who remember when television was ABC, CBS, NBC and little else, used to look down upon cable.