×

FCC sets duopoly lottery in 4-1 vote

CBS upset over decision

WASHINGTON — Broadcasters may want to start rubbing their lucky rabbits’ feet now that the FCC has decided it will use a lottery to decide who can buy a second station in some markets.

The lottery, announced Tuesday, would be used only in cases where there is not enough room to grant permission for all duopolies in a given market.

Under the FCC’s new rules, a broadcaster may buy another station in the same market — but only when the deal would leave at least eight independently owned stations in the market.

No lining up

CBS had argued that permission to grant a waiver should be approved on a first-come, first-served basis (Daily Variety, Oct. 19). The Eye web also argued it is in line for such a waiver, since it has announced its intention to merge with Viacom and its Paramount Station Group, which would create duopolies in two markets.

In another blow to CBS, the FCC said it would grant priority to applications from stations in local marketing agreements. Under an LMA, one station manages another station in the same market — and there are more than 80 of those arrangements around the country. The FCC also ruled that it would count current LMAs as a single voice when adding up all voices in a market.

Consumer groups spinning

Public interest advocates also opposed the lottery. David Honig of the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council asked the FCC to award preferences based on which broadcaster would agree to spin off properties to “socially or economically disadvantaged” citizens.

The FCC approved the decision to hold lotteries in a 4-1 vote, with Harold Furchtgott-Roth dissenting. Furchtgott-Roth said the procedure “is simply unworkable, and will likely lead to the abrogation of ownership rights based on seemingly arbitrary factors.”

More TV

  • Bette Midler, Judith Light Join Netflix's

    Bette Midler and Judith Light Join Ryan Murphy's 'The Politician' on Netflix

    Bette Midler and Judith Light will guest star on “The Politician,” the first series Ryan Murphy will launch on Netflix after he inked a deal with the streamer last year. Murphy made the announcement at the end of Saturday’s PaleyFest panel for his FX series “Pose,” and noted that Midler and Light will both appear [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Billy Porter, Indya MooreFX's

    Patti LuPone Joins FX's 'Pose' as Season 2 Jumps to 1990

    “Pose” co-creator Ryan Murphy revealed that Broadway legend Patti LuPone will guest star on the upcoming second season of the FX drama, and that the series will jump ahead to 1990. Murphy made the announcement while moderating the “Pose” panel at PaleyFest on Saturday, telling lead actress MJ Rodriguez that she will share many scenes [...]

  • The Good Doctor

    Series Mania: Freddie Highmore Talks ‘The Good Doctor,’ Arsenal, Norman Bates

    LILLE, France —  God, Freddie Highmore’s good at crying. There’s a scene in “Neverland,” screened at his Series Mania masterclass, where he’s acting opposite Johnny Depp. His mother has just died. Highmore sits on a park bench, clutching a notebook, which she helped as tears well in his eyes, and he tries to keep in [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Showrunners, Screenwriters Back WGA in Agency Battle, Sides to Meet Again Tuesday

    More than 750 showrunners and screenwriters have backed the WGA’s battle against talent agencies taking packaging fees and other changes to the rules governing the business relationship between agents and writers. The letter of support issued Saturday is significant because of the immense clout showrunners and prominent screenwriters possess in Hollywood. Several showrunners had recently [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content