Hollywood’s fin-syn coalition yesterday asked a federal judge in L.A. to postpone action on the Big Three networks’ bid to eliminate fin-syn-related antitrust consent decrees.The request was made to U.S. District Judge Robert Kelleher, who recently ruled that Hollywood production companies have no legal right to become a party to the consent-decree case. The Coalition to Preserve Fin-Syn consists of about 200 members, including the major studios and independent producers. In yesterday’s filing, the coalition asked the judge to delay further action until the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco decides the matter. In the late 1970s, the U.S. Dept. of Justice sued the webs, alleging they were able to unfairly extract profits from TV producers. Under the consent decree settlement, the networks agreed to abide by financial interest and syndication rules established in the early 1970s by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC revised those rules last year, but two weeks ago, a Chicago federal court rejected the regulations as “arbitrary and capricious.” The separate Chi case is still under review. The networks are hoping Kelleher will deep-six the consent decrees and that the Chicago decision will force the FCC to eliminate or scale back the fin-syn rules.
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