Fox Inks New Affiliation Agreements, Scraps Others

Fox has signed some new affiliation agreements, while severing ties with other affiliates. Communications Corporation of America's WEVV Evansville, a CBS affiliate airing MyNetworkTV on its .2 channel, becomes a Fox-MyNet hybrid on channel 44.2.

WEVV replaces Nexstar's WTVW as the local Fox affiliate in DMA No. 103.

Fox also inked a deal with Journal Broadcast Group to launch Fox on Journal's KNIN Boise (DMA No. 113), currently a CW affiliate. That replaces Block Communications-owned KTRV, whose affiliation agreement, Fox says, expired in August.

WEVV, which had been a Fox affiliate years ago, begins its Fox partnership July 1, while KNIN kicks off Fox programming Sept. 1.

Fox has been particularly aggressive in pushing its affiliates to come up with substantial retrans earnings as part of their affiliation agreements, sparking ire among some stations.

Mike Hopkins, Fox's president of affiliate sales and marketing, told B&C in February that the network might seek other local partners if affiliates did not agree to Fox's terms. "It could be other stations in the market...In certain markets of the country if the economics of broadcasting aren't able to support the broadcast network we may have to make a determination that we might be better off not being broadcasters in that market and be a cable channel," he said.

Nexstar, for one, had balked at Fox's affiliation terms. On an earnings call today, Chairman/President/CEO Perry Sook said talks with Fox over overdue affiliation agreements had not progressed. Nexstar still has several Fox affiliates.

Sook was not available at presstime on short notice.

Jon Hookstratten, Fox's executive vice president, network distribution, saluted the new local partners. "ComCorp stations have been strong Fox affiliates in Texas and Louisiana since the network launched 25 years ago, and the station group has a proven track record for providing local viewers with outstanding programming and community service," he said.

"We're pleased to bring Fox's excellent lineup of sports and entertainment programming back to Channel 44," said Steve Pruett, president and CEO of ComCorp. "We look forward to continuing to build the Fox franchise in Evansville on WEVV-TV D2."

Fox noted that KNIN's affiiation with CW expires this summer.

Hookstratten said he was pleased to expand Fox's relationship with Journal as well. "Journal has been an outstanding affiliate partner with Fox for more than 20 years with stations in Ft. Myers, Florida and Lansing, Michigan," he said. "Both stations are tops in their respective markets, and both have a record of outstanding service to their communities.

"We're looking forward to bringing the combination of Fox programming and our local news and popular off-network comedies to viewers in the Treasure Valley," said Steven J. Smith, chairman and CEO of Journal Communications. "Fox is a terrific partner for us in our other markets. We are confident their success will continue as they provide a tremendous combination of entertainment and sports programming."

Rick Joseph, President and General Manager of KTRV, suggested KTRV had held up its end of the deal in a statement.

"In 1981, KTRV started as an independent television station. Since 1985 we've had a mutually beneficial relationship with the FOX Network. Although KTRV agreed to the terms and conditions that FOX set forth in continuing the relationship, FOX has decided to go in a different direction in the Boise market. We will continue to be a FOX Affiliate until August 31st. Over the next several months we will be looking at all the opportunities to best serve the viewers of the Treasure Valley."

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.