Revival at NBC? New Fall Lineup Offers GE Hope

Revival at NBC? New Fall Lineup Offers GE Hope 1IN THE NEW NBC sitcom “30 Rock,” a General Electric Co. appliance manager played by Alec Baldwin takes over the conglomerate’s broadcast network.

Will life copy art? Or will “30 Rock” and this television season’s other new shows give GE’s stock a boost?

GE’s earnings are struggling because of the weakness of its NBC Universal unit, where second-quarter operating profit fell 10% from a year earlier. The entertainment and media unit — once viewed by investors as merely a glitzy sideshow — contributes just 10% of GE’s revenue. But it has cast a big shadow, particularly in the past year, when NBC finished last among the four major broadcast networks. Without NBC Universal, GE’s profit would have risen about 10% in the first half, compared with the 6% increase the company reported.