WB gains another UPN defector

Naples, Fla. station switches affiliations in $15.5 mil deal

NEW YORK — The WB has made another trip to the UPN hen-house, emerging this time with WTVK-TV Naples, Fla. Acme Television, owned in part by WB chief Jamie Kellner, has agreed to pay $15.5 million to Second Generation Broadcasting for the UHF station; it will switch affiliation from UPN to WB on Sunday. “We’re thrilled to be part of the WB,” said Jonathan Pinch, president and G.M. of the station, and a partner in Second Generation.

If so, Pinch has good reason to be: Second Generation bought the station in September 1995 for $4 million — so this deal almost quadruples his investment in three years.

For the WB, it means an additional 0.33% of U.S. household coverage and a decrease in the same amount for UPN. Currently, the WB reaches 88% of U.S. TV households; UPN reaches just below 81%.

The Fort Myers/Naples DMA is ranked No. 83 in the nation.

A UPN spokeswoman said the network is “exploring all its options in the market” and may still opt to build a station there, or arrange for carriage on local cable systems.

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