Michelle Obama will appear on the season finale of NBC’s "Parks and Recreation" on Thursday evening as her husband’s administration reviews the merger that will make the network’s parent company the largest cable provider in history.
NBC is owned by Comcast, which is seeking approval from the Department of Justice to merge with Time Warner Cable. The $45.2 billion deal, which would hand the company control of almost 30 percent of the pay TV market, has attracted scrutiny for perceived political favoritism in the Obama administration’s merger oversight.
Comcast and Time Warner were major Obama contributors during the 2012 election cycle and continue to finance Democratic candidates. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts has golfed with President Obama on numerous occasions and his company also owns MSNBC.
Smaller mergers perpetrated by companies headed by Republican donors have met resistance from Attorney General Eric Holder, according to a Fortune magazine exposé.
The first lady’s sitcom appearance is the latest example of the White House lending star power to NBC, which has struggled in the ratings in recent years. The "Parks and Recreation" episode comes just weeks after Vice President Joe Biden served as the first guest on Seth Meyers’ new late night show and Michelle Obama visited Jimmy Fallon’s couch.
The Obamas are a staple on American television with filmographies that are on pace to dwarf those of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, who worked in Hollywood for nearly eight decades, according to the Internet Movie Database. The first couple made 195 total television appearances from 2004 to the 2012 campaign. They have logged 51 appearances since April 2012, including credits for guest roles on Entertainment Tonight, The Biggest Loser, Puppy Bowl X, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
While President Obama and Biden generally reserve their talents for late night sofas and liberal comedy sites, Michelle Obama’s appearances span the television spectrum. She has done morning shows, primetime soap operas, and presented at the Oscars.