In what is billed as one of the nation's largest corporate-sponsored community service days, Comcast executives participated in improvement projects across the country -- including at an elementary school near Universal Studios in Los Angeles.
On Saturday at Rio Vista Elementary School in North Hollywood, NBCUniversal executives painted murals on exterior walls of school buildings. Philadelphia-based Comcast owns NBCUniversal.
The team included NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt, Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley, NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer, Filmed Entertainment Group Chairman Jeff Shell and Universal Studios Hollywood President Larry Kurzweil and E! Entertainment President Suzanne Kolb.
The annual event, called "Comcast Cares Day, was expected to involve about 80,000 employees and family members in 39 states and 12 countries, said Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen.
Colleen Williams and Chuck Henry, anchors of KNBC-TV Channel 4's evening newscasts, were among an estimated crowd of about 400 Comcast employees and family members who showed up to lend a hand with the mural project at the North Hollywood school.
"It's a great event and makes us proud to see what we can do," Williams said. "It's all about volunteering."
Three yellow minions, the pill-shaped characters from Universal's blockbuster movie franchise "Despicable Me," posed for photos with participants. Smoothies, bananas and Pink's Hot Dogs were served.
Cohen painted a figure on a wall before leaving to fly to Sacramento for another community project, at the Ethel Phillips Elementary School, and an afternoon of meetings with lawmakers.
City Year Los Angeles, a nonprofit group that tackles community service projects, including mentoring at-risk youths, coordinated the project.
Saturday's day of service comes as Comcast, the nation's largest cable and Internet service provider, lobbies for approval of its planned $45-billion takeover of Time Warner Cable.
The proposed transaction, which is being scrutinized by the federal government, would give Comcast at least 30 million additional cable subscribers, including 1.5 million homes in Los Angeles that currently receive service from Time Warner Cable.
Comcast also is negotiating a nearly $20-billion deal with another cable operator, Charter Communications, to swap assets and systems, which could include Comcast taking over Charter's operations in Los Angeles. Charter has about 280,000 homes in Southern California.
Consumer watchdogs have voiced concerns about the proposed Time Warner Cable deal, saying it would make Comcast -- already the nation's largest cable and broadband provider -- too big and powerful.
Comcast would dominate the high-speed Internet market with a residential customer base estimated at 40% of the country.
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