Will This Bird Fly?

With Universal Studios under its wing, NBC will change from TV network to media heavyweight

General Electric's old advertising slogan--"We bring good things to life"--conjured the comforting glow of a GE light bulb or the hum of a refrigerator. Real stuff. The company's new catchphrase--"Imagination at work"--may soon summon visions of the Hulk or a horse named Seabiscuit. With GE entering talks last week to merge its NBC unit with Vivendi Universal's entertainment assets, the industrial powerhouse has muscled onto a media stage already crowded with Schwarzenegger-size conglomerates. For GE, imagination may soon have to do some heavy lifting.

Vivendi narrowed the field to one after many months of shopping, flirting and haggling with a...

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