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CW inks affil pact with station group

Four new stations to become affiliates

The CW has inked an affiliation deal with LIN TV, one of the larger independent station groups, for stations in Columbus, Ohio; Buffalo, N.Y.; Austin, Texas; and Mobile, Ala.

The four stations — two WB and two UPN — will become affiliates of the CW when the network launches in September.

LIN operates three other UPN stations in Indianapolis; Hartford, Conn.; and Fort Wayne, Ind., that will lose their affiliation in September as a result of the consolidation of UPN and the WB into the CW, a new net owned by Time Warner and CBS.

With the LIN TV deal, the CW increases its coverage to 81% of the country and 19 of the top 20 markets.

The CW is in talks with Sinclair Broadcasting for the last top-20 market, Minneapolis, where Sinclair owns the WB affiliate.

Sinclair and Clear Channel are the last two big station groups that haven’t reached a deal with the CW.

Sinclair owns or operates 18 WB and six UPN affils, making it the second largest owner of WB stations next to Tribune Co.

Sinclair could have had the most stations left without a network affiliation after the merger is complete. It solved that problem in part by doing a big affiliation deal with Fox’s MyNetwork TV for 17 of its owned or managed stations in March.