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Par web lures five more affiliates; total now 31

Paramount signed five more stations to its fifth-network effort, bringing the number of primary affiliates to 31, with a reach of 44.23%, according to the Nielsen Station Index.

The new affiliates are: WGNT-TV, Norfolk, Va.; WNPL-TV, Ft. Myers, Fla.; WAZ-TV, Evansville, Ind.; KADY-TV, Santa Barbara, and KYES-TV Anchorage, Alaska.

The Paramount network, jointly owned by the studio and Chris Craft Broadcasting, is now over the halfway point of reaching its 85% national clearance level by next January’s launch date.

The web plans to start with four hours of programming over two nights, with the “Star Trek: Voyager” series as its signature show.

Key independent stations still unsigned include ABRY Communications’ WNUV-TV Baltimore and WSTR-TV Cincinnati.

Par may also have to find a new affil in Philadelphia. Paramount was planning to use its own station — current Fox affil WTXF-TV — as an affil because Fox was buying rival station WGBS-TV from Combined Broadcasting and taking its affiliation there.

But that deal fell through (Daily Variety, Feb. 12), and now Fox will likely keep its affiliation on WTXF, meaning Paramount may turn to WGBS as an affiliate.

“We have a number of options in Philadelphia,” said Kerry McCluggage, chairman of Paramount Television Group.

“With regards to our own Fox affiliation on WTXF, that is a relationship that has been mutually beneficial. I’m sure it will be re-evaluated in light of new circumstances and we will see what happens.”

A Fox spokesperson declined comment on the company’s plans in Philadelphia.

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