Scripps Renews ABC Affiliations

Scripps has entered into an agreement with ABC to extend the network affiliation of six Scripps stations through January 2015. The stations are WXYZ Detroit, KNXV Phoenix, WFTS Tampa, WEWS Cleveland, WMAR Baltimore and WCPO Cincinnati.

The previous agreements had ended Jan. 31, 2010, with the stations operating on short-term extensions since then. On the group's third quarter earnings call earlier this month, Scripps TV Senior VP Brian Lawlor said "the conversations continue and are productive."

The new agreement includes a license fee paid by Scripps to ABC for network programming. Since the expiration of the affiliation agreement in January, Scripps has been accruing network programming expenses at a rate that it says "is consistent with the new agreement."

Some groups have chafed at ABC's affiliation demands, which include a cut of stations' retrans cash. But most on the affiliate side appreciate ABC's new inventory exchange, which sees the network make extra spots available to stations during high-demand times like elections and holidays that involve shopping.

"This new agreement reflects our shared belief in the power of a high-quality national programming provider combined with local affiliates that have trusted news brands and strong influence in their communities," said Lawlor.

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.