Late Nightmare

Does Comcast Regret NBC Deal?

This is what we call buyer’s remorse. Comcast's deal to buy 51 percent of NBC won’t be approved until September at the earliest. That means the company—which has a buttoned-up, no-drama reputation—is powerless as NBC makes a mess of its late-night lineup. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts warned NBC chief Jeff Zucker that there had better be good reason to displace Conan, whose show, despite a ratings decline, was still the number-one late-night program and brought in millions of dollars in revenue. Now, it looks like when Comcast inherits the company, Conan will be on a rival network, draining advertising dollars away from Jay Leno, and NBC will also have to spend millions of dollars producing programming to replace Leno’s 10 p.m. disaster.