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Which Do You Like Better: MSCNN? Or CNNBC?

Written By mista sense on Friday, May 23, 2008 | 11:57 AM

When CNBC starts reporting on rumors about parent-company GE spinning off/merging units, then it's time to really pay attention, because big change in The Cable Game is imminent.

Here's the good stuff from CNBC-er Julia Boorstin; note, in the passage below, that she just assumes that GE execs--her bosses--are lying when they deny the reports:

And despite denials, rumors are still swirling that GE General Electric Co. would consider spinning off its entertainment properties--NBC Universal, CNBC's parent. And I'm hearing that Time Warner is considered the front runner to merge with NBC Universal, since other than their movie studios and their cable news channels (CNN and MSNBC) their content properties are almost entirely complimentary.

NBC Universal doesn't have a publishing division. Time Warner doesn't have a broadcast TV network. It's still a ways off, but mark my words, execs at both companies are thinking about it.

In other words, CNBC Boorstin is blithely presuming that her bosses, including NBC chief Jeff Zucker, and General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, are either a) liars, or b) profoundly ignorant about their own companies. And b) of course, while possible, is highly unlikely.

In fact, talk of a GE spinoff to/merger with Time-Warner is now all over the place.

GE/NBC and Time-Warner/CNN are free, of course, to issue cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die denials, but they aren't doing so. (And of course, nobody would believe them if they did--but they aren't, which tells us plenty.)

The Cable Gamer wants credit! I have been saying that such a breakup is inevitable for a year now. It feels good to see a little woman's intuition being confirmed.

In the meantime, one must wonder: What are the folks who anchor shows on CNN and MSNBC thinking right now? For example, John Roberts and Kiran Chetry co-host CNN's "American Morning. And yet over at MSNBC, there's Joe Scarborough and Mike Brzezinski. And what of such rival bigfeet as Chris Matthews, Larry King, and Anderson Cooper? And let's not forget the biggest you-know-what of them all, Keith Olbermann. How they are all those egos going to squeeze onto one channel?

PS: Note to Julia: Brunette is best!

UPDATE: Fortune's Richard Siklos dishes still more on the looming deal.

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