Fin-Syn Rules Prepared For Burial

The FCC may vote at its April meeting to begin a proceeding that’s likely to lead to the end of Hollywood’s long-treasured financial interest and syndication rules.

The rules are set to expire in November. However, six months before that deadline, the Federal Communications Commission must begin a review to ensure that gutting the rules is appropriate.

The fin-syn rules – which for more than 20 years barred the Big Three networks from owning a piece of programming produced by Hollywood studios or from syndicating shows during primetime – were partially lifted by the FCC in 1993.

Preserving the last remnants of fin-syn seems unlikely, as it’s believed at least three of the five FCC commissioners – chairman Reed Hundt and commissioners Andrew Barrett and James Quello – support the November sunset of the rules.

Moreover, Hollywood is likely to have difficulty convincing the FCC to retain the regs given the launch of fifth and sixth network bids by Warner Bros, and Paramount.

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