Media World: Will NBC dump Jay Leno?

Tom Shales, the famously cranky TV critic at The Washington Post, is predicting that Jay Leno's new show may not survive if Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) takes over NBC Universal.

"Among the first items of business [following a Comcast takeover] might be the undoing of another deal: the pact NBC made with Jay Leno, giving him the last hour of prime time Monday through Friday all year," Shales wrote. "So far, 'The Jay Leno Show' has been a ratings weakling with a strong negative effect on the rest of the NBC prime-time schedule."

There was no immediate comment from NBC brass on Shales' story, which seems entirely plausible. GE executives said today they were pleased with the show's launch. But as today's earnings announcement from General Electric Co. (GE) underscores, NBC Universal's importance to GE is vastly overstated by the press. Call it the power of show business. While NBC Universal is a huge company by most measures, it is surrounded by scores of other GE businesses that are much, much bigger.