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Karmazin: UPN talks with Fox still alive

Viacom president and COO Mel Karmazin confirmed Tuesday that talks are
on-going with Fox about possibility of the latter becoming a partner in the
struggling UPN network.

In January, the Chris-Craft stations - in the process of being acquired by Fox - resigned with UPN for 18 months. That deal assumes, said Karmazin, that Fox will complete its acquisition of Chris-Craft "and we would do deal with Fox. We are in discussions as we speak today with people at Fox and we would like them to continue with us as affiliates at least and potentially more. But at least an affiliation for the next four or five years."

Reminded of comments made by Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone a year ago that UPN would be profitable by 2001, Karmazin said that wouldn't happen, but if a longer term deal is struck with Fox, "our hope is," that the network will be profitable by the 2002-03 season. "We like the asset," Karmazin said of UPN. Karmazin's remarks came at Variety's The Front Row media conference in New York.
- Steve McClellan