Fox returns latenight to affiliates

As requested by affiliates, Fox Broadcasting Co. and the Fox Affiliate Assn. Thursday agreed to a plan for the weblet to temporarily return the 11 p.m.-midnight hour to affiliates Jan. 31 until a new latenight show is in place (Daily Variety, Jan. 6).

A Fox source said the new latenight show may be developed at the O&O level, a move that would allow the weblet to get the new series up to speed before it goes national.

“Because the priority right now is our commitment to the (National Football League), and because we know that most affiliates have programming on the shelf which they can use to maximize their opportunities in the latenight daypart (during the February sweeps), we are temporarily suspending our latenight feed while continuing our latenight development efforts,” Fox affiliate relations exec VP Preston Padden said in a press release.

Fox affiliate board chairmanGregg Filandrinos, G.M. of KDNL in St. Louis, said the affil is “committed to be there for our network when the new latenight Fox program is ready.”

The weblet’s decision to abandon latenight for a third time follows a meeting Thursday between Fox officials and board members. The move comes on the heels of the weblet’s decision to end latenight show discussions with radio personality Howard Stern.

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