In today’s affiliate wars, it should come as no surprise that Fox will become the owner of an ABC affiliate.
The weblet has acquired New World’s ABC affil WBRC in Birmingham, Ala., the nation’s No. 51 market, for $100 million, and the station is under contract to the Alphabet web until fall 1996.
Of course, ABC and Fox are likely to reach an agreement to cancel the affiliation agreement sooner, so the station can affil with Fox.
New World also will have a presence in the market as the owner of NBC affiliate WVTM.
If not, the next ABC affiliates meeting could be pretty interesting, with Fox execs in the room.
When ABC does look for a new home, the most likely candidate will be former Fox affiliate WTTO, a UHF station owned by Baltimore-based operator Sinclair Broadcasting.
Sinclair will likely play hardball with ABC. In Milwaukee, the group owner passed on a deal with CBS, forcing the Eye web to affiliate with a much weaker station.
Fox has several deals in the works that when closed will give the weblet 12 stations reaching 22.2% of the U.S., making it the second-largest operator behind Capital Cities/ABC.
In other Fox news, the network has landed its first primary affiliate in Montana with new station KHMT Billings. KHMT is owned by the National Indian Media Foundation.