Sinclair-UPN syndie biz hits the wall

Now that UPN and Sinclair are suing each other, all syndication business between Paramount and the station group has ceased, sources say.

Sinclair has “disinvited” Paramount Domestic TV sales execs from future meetings with its stations and has told Par the stations will do no new business with the studio.

However, Sinclair has directed its stations to move forward with promotional plans for UPN’s fall primetime schedule, as well as co-op advertising in print and radio. That order was issued in the best interests of the stations, according to one station source.

At issue between Sinclair and UPN is the status of stations in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cincinnati, San Antonio and Oklahoma City.

In a suit filed Wednesday against UPN in Baltimore City Circuit Court, Sinclair Communications claims the “uncertainty” concerning the affiliation of five stations it plans to convert to the WB network in January has hurt Sinclair’s ability to pre-sell commercial ad time in WB programming.

UPN filed suit Tuesday in an attempt to force Sinclair to keep the five stations with UPN until 2001 (Daily Variety, Aug. 6). That suit claimed that Sinclair failed to provide proper written notice within a certain deadline of its intention to end its affiliation with UPN.

Sinclair’s lawsuit claims that UPN told the station group before June 30 that it would not renew its affiliation agreements with five Sinclair stations unless the contracts were renegotiated. Sinclair also claims that no deadline for informing UPN of its plans to switch networks has expired, and that UPN received written notice in the form of press releases and newspaper articles.

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