NBC News Salutes New Cable "Friends" Over Lunch

NBC News hosted an “insiders luncheon” for media makers and media buyers alike in midtown Manhattan today, with news chief Steve Capus and ad sales boss John Kelly hosting the gig. Capus kicked off his talk by saluting NBC Universal’s new owners, saying he was “thrilled” with his new “friends” over at Comcast.

If anyone was taking note of who was sitting where, and I’m sure some were, Comcast’s Steve Burke was seated between Capus and Meet the Press host David Gregory.

Capus proudly cited Brian Roberts mentioning that NBC News was the “crown jewel” of the NBC U merger, which got the FCC’s blessing Tuesday.

Capus then gave way to Matt Lauer, who landed a sweet jab at the cable company now calling the shots. Matt said next year’s NBC News “upfront” would be held on a Wednesday…between the hours 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Should you miss the call, Matt quipped, “we probably won’t call you for 7 to 10 days.”

The invite said “You pick the topics. You ask the questions.”

Indeed, Lauer then read questions written down by members of the audience, and let the talent the question was about answer it. Each question was softer than the one before it, such as whether Lester Holt gets out for a little nightlife in between anchoring NBC Nightly News and Today on the weekends. Tamron Hall’s role model growing up was Weezie Jefferson, who was “the richest black woman on TV,” said Hall. Rachel Maddow gets her glasses in a second floor shop on 14th Street and 6th Avenue. Matt’s glasses? He gets them from Rachel, of course.

I submitted a question, something boring and newsy and typical of a trade journo. Lauer unfortunately skipped that one.

Lauer then MC’d a “Did You Know?” interactive quiz, topics varying from when Al Roker first uttered “in your neck of the woods” to Meredith Vieira’s various on-air sporting exploits to Gregory’s nickname from President Bush (Little Stretch).

These got some hearty laffs too, not to mention new X-boxes for the table with the most right answers.

Now the hard work under Comcast begins.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.