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'Office' Politics

Karen Kornbluh, who is on the short list for candidates to replace FCC chairman Julius Genachowski when he exits, has a roundabout connection to Comcast/NBCU.

No, it’s not related to her current post as ambassador to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, whose broadband charts are used by critics of Comcast and other ISPs to opine that U.S. broadband build-outs lag behind those of postage stamp-size countries. Granted, that is one roundabout connection, but there’s a more prominent one.

It’s the fact that John Krasinski’s character on NBCU’s long-running The Office, Jim Halpert, was named after Kornbluh’s husband, attorney Jim Halpert, a partner with DLA Piper in D.C.

Halpert confirmed the connection. “I grew up with Office executive producer Greg Daniels, and when he was writing the pilot for the show he thought it would be fun naming a character after me,” Halpert said in an interview. Given some of the character names in the Britcom the show was based on, Halpert says he wasn’t sure whether sharing a name was going to wind up being a good or a bad thing. “It turned out to be a very nice thing,” he said.

“If Karen were nominated I would not be representing any clients that had anything to do with the FCC,” Halpert said, adding that “the show will have gone off the air” by then. Yes, but there’s still syndication.