The most immediate effect of NBC’s pending deal to acquire Vivendi Universal
Entertainment is on the job front.
Obvious targets at Universal, USA Network and Sci Fi Channel are jockeying to
keep their jobs or move up.
One executive in VUE’s TV operation described endlessly lobbying a now-senior
NBC executive who is also a former colleague from another network.
"I figured that the calls would slow down after the first news," one NBC
executive said. "But I got more this week than I did the first week."
The most awkwardly positioned Vivendi executive is Michael Jackson, chairman
of Universal Television Group.
Industry executives widely assume that British TV veteran Jackson wants to go
back to England. (He recently turned down the CEO slot at network ITV, and his
name has come up as a candidate for director general of the British Broadcasting Corp.)
But Jackson associates said the opposite -- that he’s an American culture junkie
and is dying to stay.
"He’s the opposite of an Anglophile; he’s a Brit that loves America," said a
senior executive in VUE’s cable-networks division.
Another VUE executive concurred: "He knows more about old American sitcoms
than I do."