World Brief

BUDAPEST — SBS-controlled TV2, one of two of Hungary’s private commercial networks, is denying reports it is in dire economic straits after six months of program warfare with RTL-controlled net RTL Klub.

“The company closed 2002 with profit and the same will be the case in 2003,” TV2 executives say.

However, sources say SBS is looking for a partner to buy up to 25% of the network, which SBS flatly denies.

“Selling it would be like Coca-Cola selling its plant,” managing director David Stogel was quoted as saying in the Hungarian press.

Rumours that the net was in crisis began circulating last week when the Hungarian Development Bank rejected a $26 million loan application by TV2′s local parent company MTM-SBS to repay debts.

Both TV2 and RTL Klub have been spending heavily on shows in a ratings war.

TV2 revamped its look and programming slate and launched a sexy version of reality stalwart “Big Brother” that triggered a national sensation. RTL Klub responded with its own reality show “Real World.”

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