×

QWEST’S STATION QUEST

Qwest Broadcasting has changed its capitalization and ownership structure in an effort to gain FCC approval for the two station acquisitions it has pending.

Qwest, which was formed by producer Quincy Jones with substantial backing from Tribune Broadcasting, has deals pending to buy WATL Atlanta from Fox for $150 million and Jones’ WNOL New Orleans for $17 million.

But the FCC is concerned about how significant a role Tribune will play in the running of the two stations. Tribune already owns stations in both markets, and the commission is said to be worried that the group owner would have more leverage than the typical local marketing agreement in which one station programs or sells ad time for two stations in a market.

Many broadcasters are keeping a close eye on how the FCC deals with the Qwest application in anticipation of crafting similar deals.

To ease FCC concerns, Tribune said it would cut its voting and equity stake in Qwest to 33% from 45%; Qwest’s interest would grow to 67%.

As a result of the changes, Tribune’s $15 million contribution to the purchases would be cut to $8 million.

While Qwest said it will offer employment to members of the 65-person staff at WATL and the 42-person staff at WNOL, there will be significant cuts. Both Qwest and Tribune added that they are looking to reduce operating costs and after closing will co-locate the stations and reduce staff at the two Qwest stations to 15 apiece. Fox is eager for the FCC to approve Qwest’s new structure because it needs to close the sale of WATL to wrap up its purchase of WGHP Greensboro, N.C.

Also, Fox is said to want to sell its Denver station KDVR to Qwest and take its affiliation to Tribune-owned KWGN. KDVR would then become the WB Network affiliate in the nation’s 18th-largest market.

More TV

  • 'Americans,' 'Versace,' 'Dannemora' Lead Critics' Choice

    'Americans,' 'Gianni Versace,' 'Escape at Dannemora' Lead Critics' Choice Awards TV Nominations

    FX’s “The Americans” and “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,” along with Showtime’s “Escape at Dannemora,” led the Broadcast Television Journalists Assn.’s nominations for the 24th annual Critics’ Choice Awards, it was revealed Monday. Joining “The Americans” in the best drama series category was “Better Call Saul” (AMC), “The Good Fight” (CBS All [...]

  • Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard

    New 'Star Trek' Series to Shoot in California, Selected for Tax Credit

    CBS’s new “Star Trek” series, with Patrick Stewart reprising the role of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, will shoot in California and receive a $15.6 million production tax credit. The California Film Commission announced Monday that the untitled “Star Trek” series and eight other TV series have been selected for the latest tax credit allocations totaling $90 [...]

  • The Netflix logo is displayed at

    Netflix Orders 'Queen Sono,' Its First African Original Series

    Netflix has ordered its first African original series, “Queen Sono,” a drama about a secret agent who fights crime while dealing with crises in her personal life. The series will launch globally in 2019. “Queen Sono” stars veteran South African actress Pearl Thusi, who tweeted in an emotional video Monday that she “cannot wait for…every woman on [...]

  • Outlander 406

    'Outlander' Recap: Jamie Encounters William Again in 'Blood of My Blood'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Blood Of My Blood,” the sixth episode of “Outlander” Season 4. The action in “Blood of My Blood” picked up almost immediately after the previous week’s episode, as evidenced by the fact that Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) was still staying with Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and [...]

  • The Flash -- "Elseworlds, Part 1"

    'Elseworlds, Part 1' Recap: Barry Allen and Oliver Queen Swap Skills, Visit Superman

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Elseworlds, Part 1,” the first part of the 2018 “Arrowverse” crossover, which aired Dec. 9. After past crossovers that introduced beloved characters’ doppelgangers, a wedding and death, “Elseworlds,” the fifth annual “Arrowverse” event, had a lot to which to live up. Unlike previous years, [...]

  • Stranger Things

    'Stranger Things' Season 3 Teaser Reveals Episode Titles, 2019 Release

    Netflix dropped a new teaser for the upcoming third season of “Stranger Things” Sunday, confirming that it will land on the streamer in 2019. The teaser also revealed the episode titles for the third season, which are as follows: “Suzie, Do You Copy?,” “The Mall Rats,” “The Case of the Missing Lifeguard,” “The Sauna Test,” [...]

  • Kyzza Terrazas Joins Garcia Bernal, Diego

    Kyzza Terrazas Joins Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna’s La Corriente del Golfo (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Launching their new production house, La Corriente de Golfo, last April, Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna have tapped Mexican writer-director Kyzza Terrazas as the company’s head of development. The appointment will certainly help build the company appointing an old-rounder capable of overseeing and implementing development, writing and directing, and a longtime [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content