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Fox pursuing football pacts with ABC affils

CBS is not the only network whose affiliates Fox is courting. The weblet is also in talks with ABC affils about carrying its coverage of the National Football Conference.

Fox is said to have all but inked deals with several ABC affils in Montana — where Fox has no affils — to carry its football coverage in the fall. Like the CBS deals, the pacts with ABC stations require the affils to carry at least six hours of Fox’s primetime programming.

Apparently no CBS affils in Montana were willing to risk the wrath of CBS affiliate relations prexy Tony Malara, although one station source there said it was a tough decision that went down to the wire.

ABC affiliate relations head George Newi could not be reached for comment on the Alphabet web’s policy on secondary affiliations. ABC usually airs a variety of sports programming.

So far, Fox is said to have signed up over 30 stations to affiliation agreements. At least two-thirds of those are secondary affiliation agreements with CBS affils, the rest being “true” Fox affils.

CBS is none too pleased with its Fox-friendly affils. Malara has said that stations carrying Fox’s NFC coverage will likely lose rights to “60 Minutes,” which will be offered to other stations in the market. CBS has also hinted that it will look for affiliates that can meet all the programming obligations of the network.

But in reality that may be unlikely. Most of the markets in question have only two other stations. And those stations probably have little desire to lose their current network affiliations, which include professional football.

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