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Comcast exec to helm NBC

NEW YORK - Comcast Chief Operating Officer Steve Burke will succeed Jeff Zucker as CEO of NBC Universal later this year, when Comcast takes control of the broadcaster.

NEW YORK - Comcast Chief Operating Officer Steve Burke will succeed Jeff Zucker as CEO of NBC Universal later this year, when Comcast takes control of the broadcaster.

The possibility of a change-in-command had been looming since last December, when Philadelphia-based Comcast agreed to buy a 51-percent stake in NBC Universal from Fairfield, Conn.-based GE. That deal, worth $13.75 billion, is expected to be completed around the end of the year.

Burke, 52, was seen as a likely successor to Zucker. He first joined Philadelphia-based Comcast in 1998 as president of Comcast Cable. He is credited with leading Comcast's delivery of video on demand, which was introduced in 2003. He has also been president of ABC Broadcasting and president and chief operating officer of Euro Disney SA.

Burke inherits a struggling fourth-place network in need of change. The network's news division and late-night programming have remained strong but its prime-time lineup has weakened since its 1990s dominance in the "Must-See TV" era of comedy hits "Friends" and "Seinfeld."

NBC Universal also owns the Telemundo television network along with 26 TV stations; cable channels USA, Bravo, Oxygen, Syfy, CNBC and others; the Universal Pictures movie studio and Focus Features; theme parks in California, Florida and Japan; and has part ownership of online video site Hulu.