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Fin-syn battle drags on

Parties to the never-ending fin-syn fight locked horns again Thursday by asking the FCC to reconsider a decision setting in motion plans to eliminate the longstanding rules.

The FCC voted in April to lift the fin-syn regs two years after a Los Angeles federal court nixed fin-syn-related antitrust consent decrees.

That decision pleased the networks. However, in comments filed at the FCC Thursday, the webs protested a portion of the April decision that bars direct network participation in the syndication business until the regs are lifted.

Competition cited

“Diversity would be far better served by allowing the networks to compete,” argued NBC. CBS echoed the comments, and also criticized the FCC decision continuing to exempt Fox Broadcasting from the fin-syn rules. Exempting Fox is “blatantly discriminatory,” said CBS.

Meanwhile, Hollywood’s fin-syn coalition urged the FCC to embrace its 1991 rules that provided safeguards against possible network domination of TV program production.

“Nothing has changed since 1991 … (except) the alarming proliferation of in-house productions by all the networks,” said the coalition. The group also urged the FCC to drop the provision requiring the fin-syn rules to automatically expire.

Jerry Leider, co-chair of the Hollywood group, said that “all we’re asking is that the FCC reinstitute some safeguards that give us a chance to stay on the road.”

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