Inside move

Fox affils snub buyback plan

NEW YORK — The standoff between Fox and its affils over the net’s controversial plan to grab back nearly 25% of local primetime inventory shows no sign of easing.

Major station groups have apparently decided to ignore the web’s offer to let affils buy back the reclaimed inventory at a below-market rate. Fox had set a May 6 deadline for stations to choose the buyback plan, but industry insiders said few, if any, stations replied to the offer. In fact, a number of stations sent letters to Fox execs challenging the web’s right to reclaim the spots.

Fox reps won’t comment on the situation, but insiders said the net now plans to go forward with plans to take back the ad time starting July 1. Affil sources said the net hasn’t closed off discussions about the issue, leaving open the possibility that a solution can be hammered out.

There’s also a chance affils will take legal action against Fox or that some stations may try to nullify their affil agreements with the web.

Sinclair Broadcasting veep and general counsel Robert Quicksilver, who oversees several large Fox affils, said his company “hopes to continue its dialogue with Fox for a compromise which we think will be beneficial to both Fox and Sinclair and the other affiliates.”