By Judy Kurtz - 02/16/12 12:13 AM EST
Between yukking it up on late-night TV and sitting down for lengthy one-on-ones with its entertainment shows, Michelle Obama seems to be a big fan of NBC.
In just the past two weeks, the first lady has appeared on four programs affiliated with the network.
The budding NBC love affair began with a Jan. 31 appearance on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno to promote her “Let’s Move!” health initiative.
Obama followed up the Leno interview just days later as a guest on “Ellen,” where she put her pectoral strength to the test in a push-up contest with host Ellen DeGeneres. The syndicated daytime talk show has a deal through 2014 to air on stations owned and operated by NBC.
The next stop on the whirlwind NBC tour was in a pre-taped comedy sketch for “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.” In the highly hyped skit, the first lady competes in a fitness challenge at the White House with the former “Saturday Night Live” funnyman.
She then made her fourth appearance on the network on Feb. 10, chatting in an interview with “Access Hollywood” anchor Billy Bush about her Valentine’s Day plans and the eating habits of daughters Sasha and Malia. The infotainment show is taped at NBC Studios in L.A. and distributed by the network’s parent company, NBCUniversal.
Obama has appeared on all of the big three networks over the years, including a January sit-down with Gayle King to kick off CBS’s revamped version of “CBS This Morning” and a lengthy December interview with her husband with ABC’s Barbara Walters. But with the exception of a single “Entertainment Tonight” interview that aired this week, her February TV stints so far seem to be almost exclusively with NBC.
A top executive at a rival network tells ITK while the recent rash of NBC bookings hasn’t raised an eyebrow with the suits, the insider’s network does have standing interview requests with the first lady.
The majority owner of NBCUniversal, which owns and operates NBC stations as well as other channels across the country, is Comcast. In findings from 2011 by the Center for Responsive Politics, employees of the massive media company contributed more money to Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection bid than any other organization.
Filings released late last month by the campaign showed that David Cohen, Comcast’s executive vice president, raised more than $500,000 in donations for the Obama Victory Fund. Robert Iger, the CEO of The Walt Disney Co., ABC’s parent company, also drummed up tens of thousands of dollars in donations for the Obama reelection effort.
A press secretary for Michelle Obama and an NBC spokesman both declined to comment for this article.