Sinclair fires back at UPN

One day after UPN filed suit against Sinclair Broadcast Group, sources say Sinclair has filed its own suit against the netlet in Delaware.

Sinclair CEO-designate Barry Baker would not confirm that the station group had actually filed suit Wednesday, but he did say, “It’s not going to be Paramount extracting a settlement from us. It’s going to be the other way around.”

One source also said Sinclair sent a directive to its stations ordering them to stop doing any business with Paramount for the time being.

UPN on Tuesday filed suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court in an attempt to force Sinclair to keep all 11 of its affiliates with UPN until January 2001 (Daily Variety, Aug. 6). In its suit, UPN asked the court to order Sinclair to air UPN programming or to award UPN damages for any loss of revenue.

Has suffered

“UPN has suffered and will continue to suffer general, incidental and consequential damages, including loss of advertising revenue, loss of market share and injury and harm to its reputation and good will,” the suit said.

UPN charged Sinclair with breach of contract for stating its intention to switch five stations to the WB TV Network affiliation in January. According to UPN, Sinclair failed to provide the network with proper notice that it planned to end its affiliation with UPN.

The UPN suit contends that the affiliation agreements required Sinclair by July 21 to provide written notice via “personal delivery, overnight mail, certified or registered mail or facsimile,” or else the agreements would automatically be extended for three years.

Sinclair has disputed the claims, and Baker has said he will move forward with plans to convert stations in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cincinnati, San Antonio and Oklahoma City to the WB. In a letter sent to UPN, Baker has also charged UPN with defaming Sinclair’s business reputation and interfering with Sinclair’s business relationship with the WB.

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