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Belo Bags 'Big Easy' Duop

Dallas-based Belo Corp. Friday said it will purchase UPN affiliate WUPL-TV New Orleans from Viacom Television Stations Group for $14.5 million in cash. The addition of WUPL gives Belo a duopoly in New Orleans, where it also owns market-leading CBS affiliate, WWL-TV.

Completion of the deal is subject to FCC approval.

Because CBS and UPN networks are both owned by Viacom, the deal gives Belo "broad and complementary reach" in New Orleans, said Jack Sander, Belo's president/Media Operations.

WUPL reaches almost 750,000 viewers in the New Orleans market, according to the May 2005 Nielsen ratings. WWL is the longstanding market leader in New Orleans, with nearly 1.6 million viewers.

New Orleans will be Belo's fifth duopoly market. Others are Seattle/Tacoma, Phoenix, Spokane, and Tucson.

Belo also operates two stations in San Antonio, where it owns CBS affiliate KENS-TV and operates UPN affiliate KBEJ through a local marketing agreement.