March 26, 2020 / 4:17 PM / 9 days ago

UPDATE 1-NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell tests positive for the coronavirus

(Adds impact of the coronavirus on NBCUniversal.)

By Helen Coster

March 26 (Reuters) - Comcast-owned NBCUniversal Chief Executive Officer Jeff Shell has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a memo to staff on Thursday.

“Although the virus has been tough to cope with, I have managed to work remotely in LA and am improving every day,” wrote Shell, 54.

Shell, previously chairman of NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment, took over the CEO spot in January, replacing Steve Burke.

Along with its industry peers, NBCUniversal is taking a significant financial hit from the coronavirus outbreak. The company has temporarily closed its theme parks and suspended its sports productions and most of its film and TV production.

As the U.S. broadcaster of the Tokyo Olympics, NBCUniversal had planned to heavily market its forthcoming streaming service, Peacock, during the games, which on Tuesday were postponed until 2021. NBC had sold more than $1.25 billion in national advertising, a new record for any broadcaster for the games. As of March 3, nearly 90% of its ad inventory for the games had been booked. (Reporting by Helen Coster, Editing by Franklin Paul and David Gregorio)

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