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In a statement released this morning, NBC Universal announced they will slash budgets by hundreds of millions of dollars and fire up to five percent of its work force. NBC executives spoke with The Wall Street Journal ($):
Most of the initial layoffs will come in the company's 11 news divisions, and they will include on-air talent. Operations for the cable-news channel MSNBC in Secaucus, N.J., will be shuttered and moved to Rockefeller Center in Manhattan and another facility in New Jersey (emphasis added).
Ominously, the Journal reports "GE Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt has informally talked with potential outside candidates in case [Jeff] Zucker [chief executive of NBC Universal's television group] doesn't revive NBC suggesting that no one should feel safe.
And what does all this mean for Keith Olbermann?
Who knows? That the long-rumored, previously denied, closing of Secaucus is now official suggests that the OTHER rumor may well be true as well - that Keith will join Chris Matthews in the latter's return to CNBC (longtime Hardball viewers will recall Hardball launched on CNBC). Don't be surprised if, to lower costs, MSNBC offers a combination of a low-cost, daytime news outlet mixed with nightly "doc blocks" in lieu of "cable talk" television.
Long-term, this looks a lot like the first step towards dumping all of the higher-priced talent on MSNBC and end of efforts to compete with Fox News and CNN. With Keith's contract up next March, it's no wonder (a) Keith is now a regular on ESPN radio; (b) the lefties are pre-emptively putting out a conspiracy theory that Keith's "special comments" have angered the "fascist" GE brass who are now looking for an excuse to fire him. Everyone seems to be getting their ducks in a row for Kanning KO.
UPDATE: Howard Mortman has his own thoughts on all this.