Franken expresses 'inherent distrust of NBC and Comcast promises'

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, a former NBC employee, told Christine Varney, U.S. assistant attorney general for antitrust that he had an "inherent distrust of NBC and Comcast promises" and that he sees it as a problem when "the same company produces the programs and runs the pipes that bring us those programs."

Franken, who wrote and appeared on NBC's Saturday Night Live, obviously was not one to sign any ghost written letters supporting the Comcast-NBC Universal merger. He made the comments during a Senate Antitrust Subcommittee hearing where lame duck Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter reiterated his support for the merger and vouched for the integrity of Comcast's management duo of father Ralph Roberts and son Brian Roberts.

Less explosive and more predictable (think dog bites man story), DirecTV Group CEO Michael White said he was nervous about the impact on his programming if Comcast-NBCU goes through, citing Comcast's stranglehold on Philadelphia sports programming, which it will not share with the satellite provider.

"I know that Steve Burke and Brian Roberts (Comcast COO and CEO) have assured everyone that won't be the case," White Said. "But it's been the case with (Comcast-owned) Philadelphia sports."

Speaking of programming, CBS' boss thinks cable operators can find the money to pay more to broadcasters by taking it away from smaller programmers. "I think you'll find some of those channels that go really go to a very small viewership, I think that's where the money will come from," CBS CEO Les Moonves said.

A la carte anyone?

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