Comcast CEO: We can help smooth retrans waters, once we get NBCU deal OK

Comcast as a peacemaker in the retransmission wars? Sure, says CEO Brian Roberts, as long at its deal to buy NBC Universal goes through.

"We have consistently said that with this new transaction we can hopefully play a constructive role in any thinking that has to take place around this space," Roberts said on a conference call this morning with analysts discussing the company's Q3 earnings.

"This doesn't really change anything ... At this point, by being a cable operator and a broadcaster, perhaps we could foster ideas that will not have the consumer caught in the middle. We'll have to take it one step at a time. But we think there is an opportunity to play a constructive role."

The past year has seen a surge in the conflicts between pay-TV operators and content providers looking to get more revenue from their content. The most notable, obviously, is the ongoing fight between Fox and Cablevision. Fox has blocked Cablevision from its signal since Oct. 16, leaving some 3 million subscribers without access to the network.

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