Speaking at a Judiciary Committee hearing on the proposed merger between NBC and Comcast this afternoon, former NBC employee Sen. Al Franken said he doesn't "trust" promises the companies are making based on his "experience in this business."
The primary concern lawmakers voiced with the merger Thursday was that if a cable provider owns the network, it may incentivize them to raise the price of NBC programming to the detriment of all rival providers. Company heads have pledged this will not happen.
Franken, who wrote for Saturday Night Live and still receives residuals from NBC, said the network already broke a promise in the 1990s when they vowed that relaxed ownership rules would not cause the network to dominate the ownership of the shows on its schedule. Franken noted that NBC is now the lead owner of the majority of its shows.
"What I know from my previous career has given me reason to be concerned – and let me phrase that very concerned – about the potential merger of Comcast and NBC Universal," Franken said. He later added, "When the same company that produces the programs runs the pipes that bring us those programs, we have a reason to be nervous.”
Franken also said he fears that the NBC/Comcast merger could "set off another round of media consolidation."
More to come...Franken slated to ask questions in a little bit.