Fox’s Latenight Offense

Basking in the glow of their first year of football coverage and a strengthened affiliate lineup, Fox execs are setting their sights on latenight.

Much of the recent affiliate confab was dedicated to stroking affils for their roles in the growth of Fox. That stroking was followed by reminders of Fox’s commitment to latenight and that same commitment is expected from affiliates.

“Not clearing a particular Fox program may offer a short-term gain, but I hope our investment in football has shown you can count on me to take the risks and make the investments to make us No. 1,” Fox topper Rupert Murdoch said.

Fox brass also stressed the network’s commitment to local news, unveiling for the affils a just-signed deal with Reuters, the international news agency, to provide daily news feeds to affils.

The service, which launches March 1, will provide the Fox-owned stations and affils with three daily news feeds to supplement their newscasts. More feeds are expected to launch by mid-year, and regional feeds will start by year’s end, said Ian Rae, exec VP of Fox News.

Fox is said to be putting up $20 million to get the news service.

The Fox-owned stations have three years left on a five-year deal with Turner Broadcasting’s CNN. David Evans, prez and COO of the Fox Television Group, said the stations would honor their agreement.

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