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Opponent of Comcast-NBC deal counts legendary producer as board member

January 28, 2010 |  4:35 pm

Is producer Marcy Carsey against the Comcast-NBC Universal deal?

We're not sure, but the co-founder of Carsey-Werner Co., the legendary production company behind "The Cosby Show," "A Different World" and "Third Rock from the Sun," which were big hits for NBC in the 1980s and 1990s, does sit on the board of Free Press, an advocacy group that has emerged as one of the harshest critics of Comcast's merger with NBC Universal.

CARSEY Just today, Free Press compared Comcast to Blackwater, the controversial private security firm which has been harshly criticized for use and misuse of force in Iraq. In a statement responding to a federal filing Comcast and NBC Universal made at the Federal Communications Commission defending their deal, Free Press said the cable giant's "reputation for customer service ranks about one rung above Enron and Blackwater."

A Free Press spokeswoman acknowledged in an e-mail that putting Comcast and Blackwater in the same league "may not have been the best comparison." But, she added, "We were trying to convey that these big, huge companies are not popular and there is a reason they are not popular – because they behave badly and deserve that reputation."

While most of Free Press' concern about the deal is directed toward Comcast, not NBC, it did note in one filing that big programmers such as NBC use that leverage to drive up costs. Of course, Carsey-Werner, along with most independent producers, has a long track record of concerns about media consolidation when it comes to what programs end up on television.

Carsey, who once served as an NBC tour guide, was not immediately available to respond for comment.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Marcy Carsey. Credit: Leo Sorel / For The Times.