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LESS THAN KING’S RANSOM FOR WIVB IN BUFFALO

King World Prods. has sold its one TV station – CBS affiliate WIVB Buffalo – to LIN Broadcasting for $95 million.

The station had been on the block for almost a year, but King World was said to be holding out for $110 million. The syndicator paid $105 million for the outlet in the No. 36 market in 1988 when TV station sales were at their peak. The station sales market fell soon after, and although values have risen dramatically over the last two years, King World was unable to make a profit on the deal.

LIN execs said WIVB will remain in the CBS fold. The station has a five-year affiliation deal with the Eye web.

Other buyers that are said to have expressed a passing interest in WIVB include CBS and Fox or a Fox-backed group such as SF Broadcasting.

King World itself is still exploring a sale or merger of the company. Any buyer probably would have sold off the station or asked King World to unload the property.

When King World bought the station, it was to be the first of many properties for the syndicator, but for various reasons no other stations were purchased.

Turner Broadcasting has been mentioned as a potential buyer for King World, but so far talks are said not to have hit the serious stage.

WIVB is one of CBS’ stronger affiliates, with a 34 share in late evening news leading into “Late Show With David Letterman,” according to Nielsen. In the February sweeps, WIVB had a 7 rating, 19 share, second to ABC affiliate WKBW, which had an 8/23. LIN Broadcasting owns seven other network affiliates including CBS affils in Indiana – Indianapolis and Fort Wayne. LIN also owns the NBC affiliates in Dallas and Austin, Texas, and Norfolk, Va., and the ABC affiliates in Hartford, Conn., and Decatur, Ill.