"New Young Broadcasting" Sheds $800 Mil of Debt

The ownership of Young Broadcasting has officially transitioned from a public company to a shareholder group that's comprised of its former senior lenders. Young has shed "nearly $800 million in debt and millions of dollars of burdensome contracts through the bankruptcy process," it said in a statement. Now known as New Young Broadcasting, the company says it will emerge from bankruptcy as "the most financially sound company in television broadcasting."

Exactly when it exits Chapter 11 is unclear. Some insiders thought the latest Young statement indicated that the bankruptcy books were closed, while others within the company believe Young must get final approval from the FCC on license transfers before emerging. "Every time we think it's over, there's another step," said one manager.

Insiders believe the FCC has OK'd the transfers, but a 30-day waiting period must be endured before Gray Television can begin managing the bulk of the Young stations--and before bankruptcy matters are finalized.

Calls to Young and its PR outfit for explanation and clarification were not returned at press time.

Gray Television collects $2.2 million annually from Young to manage seven of its 10 stations, but has not been able to start managing them yet. Young's fate had been tied up in court for some time, as the lenders and a committee of unsecured creditors fought for control of the stations, with the lenders prevailing.

Young entered bankruptcy in February 2009. Its stations include WKRN Nashville, WBAY Green Bay and KRON San Francisco.

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.