Magic Johnson backs Comcast-NBCU deal, as Kevin Martin backs out of hearing

NBC legend Magic Johnson has thrown his support behind the $30 billion Comcast-NBC Universal merger, so we should probably expect all hearings to henceforth stop and deal approval to move faster than water in a storm-swollen stream. Johnson sent a letter to Rep. John Conyers, chair of the House Judiciary Committee regaling NBCU's diversity efforts and claiming there would be "even more when it's teamed with Comcast."

The Judiciary Committee, of course, is holding a hearing today in Los Angeles to learn how the real world (if you can include Los Angeles in the real world) outside the Beltway feels about the deal. Former FCC Chair Kevin Martin was initially said to be among the witnesses but the latest word is that Martin has declined the offer. Among those who will be on hand are Will Griffin, president-CEO of Hip Hop On Demand, Frank Washington, chairman-CEO of Tower of Babel and Darnell Hunt, a sociology professor at the University of California.

Finally, speaking of the merger and diversity, the engaged couple has announced a further commitment to "diversity" with Comcast promising to add three independent cable nets with "substantial" minority ownership interest; establish four external advisory councils involved with minority matters; and spend at least $7 million more in minority-owned media next year.

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