This is the man who saved NBC, and he will likely be the very man to kill it altogether.

Deal or No Deal for Channels 5 and 39?

NBC Universal Television Group CEO Jeff Zucker announced yesterday his network's cutting $750 million from the budget by 2008, and it'll get there by canning some 700 employees not only at the network but throughout every media property owned by the conglomerate. So, not only will prime-time TV look different--expect nothing but on-the-cheap reality shows for a good long while on the once-proud Peacock--but so will local affiliates and NBC's Spanish-language network, Telemundo. According to the New York Daily News this morning, "Some 220 people working at NBC News, MSNBC, Spanish language network Telemundo and local NBC-TV stations [are] set to be handed pink slips."

It's still too early to tell what that means for KXAS-Channel 5, which is owned and operated by NBC; someone tell Jeff Zucker we do have a few thoughts on the subject. But there are some early indications of what that could mean for Telemundo's Dallas operations. There's a piece in the San Jose Mercury News this morning that says KSTS-Channel 48 there is eliminating its local news staff, including anchors, photographers and reporters, "as part of NBC's plan to cut 700 jobs throughout its television operations and move more resources toward efforts to strengthen its online presence." (Ah, the familiar refrain.) Now, says the paper, "a five-person bureau will replace Telemundo's existing local news operation, with reporters feeding their stories to shows based in Burbank and Dallas/Forth Worth."

The paper says other Telemundo news operations around the country will also experience layoffs, incluing stations in Denver, Houston, Phoenix, San Antonio and at KXTX-Channel 39 right here. NBC still doesn't know who will be let go from those operations or when. Likely, every show and every station owned by NBC will, sooner or later, feature Howie Mandel. No deal. --Robert Wilonsky

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