Comcast facing possible Trump backlash as Inauguration Day approaches

Comcast Center headquarters in Philadelphia. Image: Comcast
Comcast's connection with NBC could put it at odds with President-elect Donald Trump.

After touting a steady stream of synergistic benefits from its NBCUniversal division in recent quarterly earnings reports, Comcast could be facing an unanticipated challenge from being tied to the programming conglomerate.

Along Donald Trump’s inexplicable march to Friday’s inauguration, NBCU has found itself at odds with the president-elect. In short, NBCU has a terrible relationship with an incoming president who seems to hold a grudge. 

A decade ago, Trump starred in a hit reality show for NBC, The Apprentice. But last summer, the network’s top entertainment executive, Robert Greenblatt, made a private Facebook post that became public, not calling out Trump by name but presumably referring to the then far-right presidential candidate. 

“It’s actually corrosive and toxic because his ‘mind’ is so demented; and his effect will unfortunately linger long after he’s been told to get off the stage,” Greenblatt said.

In the fall, actor Alec Baldwin began a series of unflattering impersonations of Trump on NBC late-night show Saturday Night Live. 

On Sunday, Trump posted the latest of his all-too-familiar caustic responses on Twitter, noting “[email protected] is bad but Saturday Night Live is the worst of NBC. Not funny, cast is terrible, always a complete hit job. Really bad television!” 

Meanwhile, the leaker of the 11-year-old Access Hollywood production recording—the one that featured Trump making lewd comments to then-host Billy Bush that nearly sunk the GOP nominee’s campaign—has never been identified. 

But in a speech two weeks after that tape surfaced in Comcast’s home state of Pennsylvania, Trump targeted Comcast’s 2011 purchase of NBCU, noting that too much power is concentrated in “one massive entity.” If elected, he said he would look into breaking it up. 

Comcast reps didn’t immediately respond to FierceCable’s inquiry for comment. 

For his part, while he is widely criticized for everything from his cabinet picks to his base temperament, Trump’s media-savvy is rarely second-guessed. 

Last week, the president-elect took aim at CNN, calling the cable news outlet “fake news” during a press conference in which he refused to address the outlet.

The next day, Trump met with AT&T CEO Randall Stephens to discuss the telecom giant’s proposed $85.4 billion purchase of CNN parent Time Warner Inc.