You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Affils press case against nets with FCC

NASA attempting to ensure licensee control over local p'gramming

WASHINGTON — Affiliates on Wednesday once again urged the Federal Communications Commission to punish the Big Four for lording over local programming and station business.

The Network Affiliated Stations Alliance (NASA), which represents more than 600 ABC, CBS and NBC affils, filed another round of docs with the FCC in building their case against the nets.

NASA’s original complaint, filed earlier this year, accused the nets of strong-arming affils when it comes to what program to air and the sale of stations, among other things.

“Whether the commission applies its existing rules that ensure licensee control of local television stations will have serious implications not only for the television service available to the American people today, but for the digital future,” NASA said in its filing.

So far, the FCC has refused to step in and actively investigate whether the nets have violated any rules. Rather, the reg agency has agreed to take comments in the matter.

Last month, the Big Four filed their own set of papers with the FCC, arguing that there is no merit to the affiliate complaint. They said the marketplace is doing just fine in terms of the net-affil relationship, and that there is no need for Washington to involve itself.

Tenuous time

There is little doubt that it is a tenuous time for affils, who are nervous that a federal appeals court might overturn a national ownership cap prohibiting a broadcaster from reaching more than 35% of the national audience.

If the FCC reg is struck down, there would be nothing to stop some among the Big Four from expanding their reach by buying up stations.

Some in the TV biz have speculated that the NASA complaint is an attempt to rally support for independent stations in case the court sides with the Big Four in removing the ownership cap from the books.

ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox could not be reached for comment regarding NASA’s filing, which came early Wednesday evening.

“Because of the damage being done to the American public every day that these issues are not resolved, the affiliates request that the commission promptly move forward to resolve them,” NASA filing said.

More TV

  • Adam Pally Abby Elliott

    Adam Pally, Abby Elliott Join Cast of NBC Comedy Pilot 'Uninsured'

    NBC pilot “Uninsured” has cast four of its series regulars, with Adam Pally (“The Mindy Project,” “The President Show”) and Abby Elliott (“Saturday Night Live,” “Odd Mom Out”) playing the young married couple at the center of the show. Pally will play Dave, who is described as a “natural hype man with a good heart.” Elliott [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Appeared in Documentary on

    Jussie Smollett Recently Hosted Doc on Lynching, Filmmaker Talks 'Coincidence'

    In May 2018, Jussie Smollett appeared as the narrator and correspondent in an episode of the Epix documentary series “America Divided” that explored the subject of hate crimes, specifically lynching, in the state of Tennessee. Now that the “Empire” actor has been charged with filing a false police report and Chicago police are convinced he [...]

  • TV News Roundup: CBS All Access

    TV News Roundup: 'Twilight Zone' Reboot Drops First Full Trailer (Watch)

    In today’s TV news roundup, CBS All Access has released the official trailer for the rebooted “Twilight Zone” and Sophia Bush will guest star on “Jane the Virgin.” CASTING “One Tree Hill” actress and Time’s Up activist Sophia Bush has been cast as a guest star on the fifth and final season of “Jane the [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Assult Fake

    Jussie Smollett Saga: How a Possible Hoax Only Deepens the Political Divide

    It’s become a cliche to say that America is more polarized than it has been for decades, but the strange saga of Jussie Smollett and the hate crime that may have become a hoax is fresh evidence of the divisions roiling this country. Chicago police assert that the “Empire” actor was looking for a raise [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Assult Fake

    Jussie Smollett Returns to 'Empire' Set As Fox Struggles to Decide His Fate

    Jussie Smollett is back on the set of “Empire” in Chicago following his release from police custody on Thursday, Variety has learned. Smollett was released after posting bail in Chicago after police charged him with staging what was originally reported as a hate crime last month. He was originally intended to film throughout this week [...]

  • Maxine Waters

    Maxine Waters Reacts to Jussie Smollett Arrest: 'I Would Be Disappointed' if It's a Hoax

    Maxine Waters said she “would be disappointed” if it’s proven that her friend Jussie Smollett staged his own attack. Speaking with Variety‘s Marc Malkin on Thursday at Essence’s Black Women in Hollywood Awards, the U.S. representative from California said, “If in fact it’s a hoax, of course I would be disappointed.” Smollett faces one felony [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content