As chief operating officer for Tribune’s broadcasting division, Lynda King reports to Larry Wert, President/Broadcast Media, assisting him in overseeing the company’s portfolio of 42 owned or operated television stations across the country. King was formerly SVP/Operations for Local TV Holdings, which was acquired by Tribune last year. King previously held a variety of sales and management positions with Raycom Media and Television Station Partners.
This should make life a little easier for Time Warner Cable as it prepares to deal with a likely acquisition proposal from Charter, and for Tribune as it closes its $2.73B acquisition of Local TV. The companies said today that they’ve reached a multi-year retransmission agreement that enables the No. 2 cable company to continue carrying Tribune’s stations with major markets including New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, San Diego, and Indianapolis, and superstation WGN America. The deal also includes the Local TV stations. TWC accounts for about 10.4% of the households in Tribune’s markets, and about 16.6% for Local TV, according to SNL Kagan data. The companies didn’t disclose financial terms.
The man who has been acting GM of WGN-TV Chicago for the past year has been promoted. Steve Farber is the new SVP Operations at Tribune Broadcasting, overseeing the company’s national multicast networks along with other operational duties. He will report to Larry Wert, President of Broadcast Media, and stay in the WGN post until a successor is named. Before WGN, Farber was VP Programming Operations at Tribune, having earlier worked at CLTV, the division’s 24-hour cable news operation in Chicago, since 1995.
CHICAGO, Sept. 4, 2013—Tribune Broadcasting today announced the appointment of Brian Dollenmayer as Executive Vice President/Marketing and Promotions, responsible for creating, developing and overseeing the strategy and execution of all marketing, promotion and creative service activities for WGN America, and will also work with the division‟s 23 local television stations, Antenna TV and THIS TV. Dollenmayer will begin his duties Sept. 9, and report to Matt Cherniss, WGN America‟s President and General Manager, and to Larry Wert, Tribune‟s President of Broadcast Media. He will be based in Los Angeles. “As WGN America begins its push into scripted programming with next year‟s debut of “Salem‟, we‟ve found the perfect mix of creative marketing talent and experience in Brian,” said Cherniss. “He‟s been associated with some of the most successful shows on television and understands how to mount an effective promotional campaign that creates buzz and delivers audience from Day One.” Prior to joining the Tribune team, Dollenmayer spent 19 years with the FOX network. His most recent assignment there was as EVP/On-Air Promotion and Marketing Operations where he was the creative lead for all network promotion. Dollenmayer guided the launches and award-winning marketing campaigns for such hit shows as “The Following”, “New Girl”, “House”, “American Idol”, “The Mindy Project”, and “Glee”. Dollenmayer began his career in production at WTTE, the FOX affiliate in Columbus, Ohio, before moving on to a stint at WTTV in Indianapolis, Indiana. He joined FOX
NEW YORK AND LOS ANGELES, May 13, 2013, Tribune Broadcasting and MGM Television (MGM) have joined forces on a new programming operations relationship for THIS TV, the 24/7 free digital network that features movies from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s vast library of over 4,000 titles. Effective this Fall 2013, Tribune Broadcasting will oversee all programming operations for the digital network.
CHICAGO, April 24, 2013—Tribune Company today announced the appointment of Dana Zimmer as President of Distribution for Tribune Broadcasting, overseeing distribution of the company’s broadcast and television content portfolio to the cable, satellite and telco industries. She will be responsible for the strategy, execution and day-to-day management of Tribune’s relationships with all of its distribution partners. Zimmer will assume her new duties May 13, and report to Peter Liguori, Tribune’s chief executive officer.
In his TV series debut, veteran action-movie actor Dolph Lundgren (The Expendables) has signed to star in Emmett/Furla Films & Tower 18 Prods.’ upcoming action-adventure drama series Rescue 3. Emmett/Furla Films, in conjunction with Envision Entertainment, is co-financing a full season of 20 episodes of Rescue 3 for a fall 2013 premiere.
Now the company has found an U.S. distributor in Tribune Broadcasting, which will launch Rescue 3 on its stations in primetime in fall 2013. Tribune has picked up the series with a massive two-year order with a 104-week guarantee. “We are very happy that first-run scripted programming is back in syndication,” said Sean Compton, President of Programming and Entertainment at Tribune. Indeed, Rescue 3 is a throwback to old times, when action-adventure series like Baywatch, Xena, Hercules and Andromeda heated up the syndication market. There have been no new entries in the genre since the end of Legend Of The Seeker two years ago. Tribune has been adventures with its pickups recently; the station group also is behind a new late-night talk show starring Arsenio Hall, also a genre that had disappeared from syndication.
The companies didn’t talk today — but Cablevision lobbed a new charge of bad-faith dealmaking at Tribune as its stations in New York, Philadelphia, Denver, and Waterbury, Conn remain dark on the Long Island-based cable operator’s systems. Cablevision says that it has agreed to Tribune’s terms to carry the Fox station in Hartford. But the broadcaster insists that a deal also include WPIX, a CW station in New York. Cablevision says that constitutes an illegal practice called “tying” and it’s “a major barrier to an agreement.” The company adds that it is “pursuing both legal and regulatory options” against Tribune’s effort to make a package deal. Tribune says there’s nothing illegal or wrong about the practice. “All of our retransmission agreements in the past with Cablevision, and the negotiations leading up to them, dating back two decades, have been for all Tribune stations in markets served by all Cablevision systems,” it says. Tribune adds that the approach “is more efficient, benefits subscribers, is completely lawful, and fully complies with the FCC’s good faith negotiation rules.” Tribune says that it agreed to let Cablevision continue to carry its channels until August 24 while they work out a new carriage deal to replace the one that expired today — but Cablevision elected to black out most of them.
The blackout happened “in the middle of negotiations with Tribune and without warning,” the broadcaster says. It means that Cablevision’s 3.3M cable customers now can’t see New York’s WPIX, Philadelphia’s WPHL, Hartford’s WCCT, and Denver’s KWGN. Like most retransmission consent disputes, cash is the main issue here. Cablevision says that “Tribune and their hedge fund owners are demanding tens of millions in new fees for WPIX and other stations they own. They should stop their anti-consumer demands and work productively to reach an agreement.” The company also says that WPIX “carries syndicated shows that are largely available on other channels, and/or available online almost immediately after they appear on television.” But Tribune says that the cable company has “never compensated” it for retransmitting its local stations “which are among the most highly watched channels on Cablevision’s line-ups. What we have proposed amounts to less than a penny a day per subscriber, well below what Cablevision pays to providers of less well-watched channels.” The broadcaster also says that Cablevision ”unilaterally” dropped its stations “despite our offer of an unconditional extension of the current carriage agreement with no change in terms while negotiations continued…. Tribune never made any threat to withdraw these stations or any demand that Cablevision remove them.” The Long Island-based cable operator accounts for about 8.4% of the 39.7M homes that Tribune stations reach, according to SNL Kagan data. …
CHICAGO, July 26, 2012—Tribune Broadcasting today announced that it has entered into an agreement with the Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX) for the renewal of its six expiring affiliation agreements for Tribune-owned television stations in Seattle (KCPQ-TV), Hartford (WTIC-TV), Indianapolis (WXIN-TV), Sacramento (KXTL-TV), Grand Rapids (WXMI-TV) and Harrisburg (WPMT-TV). Specific financial terms were not disclosed.
It’s Official: CBS TV Distribution To Do Late-Night Talk Show With Arsenio Hall; Show Cleared In 52% Of US Via Tribune Deal
UPDATED: Two decades after Arsenio Hall‘s successful turn as a late-night syndicated talk show host, he is at it again. The actor-comedian has signed a deal with CBS TV Distribution for a syndicated late-night talk strip for fall 2013. As expected, Tribune Broadcasting has come aboard to partner in the production of the show, which is set to launch on 17 Tribune stations — including in the three largest markets on WPIX-New York, at 11 PM; KTLA-Los Angeles, at 11 PM.; and WGN-Chicago, at 10 PM. The late-night show has already been sold in the top 10 markets and 17 of the top 20 markets, representing 52% of the country. While that doesn’t constitute an official green light, “there is a pretty good chance that we will be seeing the program in fall 2013,” said CTD president John Nogawski, who expects the show to get a first go for next fall by end of summer with the addition of more station clearances. This would be the first syndicated late-night talk show in about 15 years, since the short-lived The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show and Vibe, which launched in fall 1997.
The announcement comes on the heels of Hall’s return to the spotlight as the winner of the most recent season of Celebrity Apprentice. But Nogawski noted that, while Hall’s turn on the Donald Trump-hosted reality show “was a nice thing for the audience to remember him by,” it wasn’t a factor in CTD’s decision to do a late-night show with him. “I have a 20-year history with the guy,” said Nogawski, who oversaw Hall’s previous syndicated late-night talk show at CTD predecessor Paramount Domestic TV.
DirecTV says the agreement to carry Tribune’s 23 TV stations and WGN America runs for five years, but it won’t disclose financial terms. “It’s unfortunate that Tribune was willing to hold our customers hostage in an attempt to extract excessive rates, but in the end we reached a fair deal at market rates similar to what we originally agreed to on March 29,” DirecTV EVP Derek Chang says. Here’s Tribune’s statement:
CHICAGO, Apr. 4, 2012—Tribune Broadcasting announced this evening that it has reached an agreement with DirecTV that will enable DirecTV subscribers to avoid any further disruption in service and to once again enjoy Tribune’s 23 local television stations as well as WGN America, Tribune’s national cable network.
“We are extremely pleased to have reached an agreement with DirecTV and to return our valuable news, entertainment and sports programming to DirecTV subscribers,” said Nils Larsen, Tribune Broadcasting president. “On behalf of Tribune Broadcasting, I want to thank viewers across all of our markets for their support, understanding and patience during the negotiating process—we truly regret the service interruptions of the last several days.”
UPDATE, 2:16 PM: DirecTV’s charges that Tribune negotiated in “bad faith” are “nothing more than negotiating tactics in an attempt to unfairly disadvantage Tribune from receiving fair market compensation” for its stations, the broadcaster says. In response to DirecTV’s claim that they had a basic deal on Thursday, Tribune says it “never reached agreement with DirecTV on all the terms of the contract — not in principle, not by handshake, and not on paper.” And the satellite company’s suggestion that private equity firms control Tribune — and therefore its broadcast licenses — “is simply false and misleading.” Tribune says that it’s seeking payments of less than a penny a day for each DirecTV customer who can see its stations and pay TV service WGN America.
PREVIOUS, 12:52 PM: In a bitterly worded filing, the satellite company asks regulators to require Tribune to extend its previous carriage agreement for one month. That would enable DirecTV to resume beaming Tribune’s 23 TV stations — including several Fox and CW affiliates — to about 6M of its customers as well as pay TV service WGN America. They’ve been unavailable to subscribers since Sunday morning. DirecTV says that Tribune negotiated in “bad faith”; the people representing the broadcast and newspaper company allegedly didn’t let on that Tribune’s creditors also had to approve any agreement. ”DirecTV still does not know with whom it should be speaking — Tribune’s CEO or its associated hedge funds and investment banks,” the company says. Tribune has been controlled by equity firms since 2010 when it emerged from bankruptcy protection.
UPDATE, 7:50 PM: Tribune confirms that its stations and WGN America will vanish from DirecTV at midnight in their local time zones. Tribune “simply cannot get fair compensation from DirecTV and we cannot allow DirecTV to continue taking advantage of us,” the company’s broadcasting president, Nils Larsen, says. Tribune adds that up to now DirecTV hasn’t paid a fee to carry the TV stations and says that it “is asking for an agreement that is similar to those that DirecTV already has in place with hundreds of other broadcasters and program providers.” Larsen notes that DirecTV subscribers can still watch the broadcast stations “for free in HD with a TV antenna or through an alternative pay-TV provider.” DirecTV says that having the stations go dark is ”the last thing we want to do but we have no choice.” It asked Tribune to allow the satellite company to “keep the channels up while we try and work this out, it’s the only right thing to do for the customers and we hope Tribune will give us the OK to do that.”
A new syndicated cooking and nutrition show from Bellum Entertainment starring celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito in launching this fall. The half-hour program has been cleared on all 17 of Tribune Broadcasting’s owned-and-operated stations as part of Tribune’s deal with Bellum for educational/informational programming that includes two other series, Animal Atlas and On The Spot. In his new show, DiSpirito challenges families to change the way they eat and live. Animal Atlas, which enters its ninth season, explores wildlife around the world. On The Spot, entering its second season, tests audience’s knowledge.
It’s been nearly three years since real estate magnate Sam Zell drove Tribune to seek bankruptcy protection — the result of his disastrous $8.2B leveraged buyout transactions in 2007. But the broadcasting, publishing and Internet power says its days in the penalty box may soon be over: The company filed a third amended reorganization plan at U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware yesterday that it says has the support of senior unsecured creditors Oaktree Capital Management; Angelo, Gordon & Co; and JPMorgan Chase Bank. The document, released late last night, says that Tribune will ask the court at a conference on Tuesday to hold a December 13 hearing on the proposal, setting it up to be confirmed in February. The media company has “been in bankruptcy too long,” it said in a court filing. Although Tribune owes creditors about $13B, the new proposal says it “incorporates a protocol for resolution of the few remaining disputes.” These disagreements mostly involve how to split $534M owed to junior credit holders including hedge fund Aurelius Capital Management — and Zell. The new plan would let the junior lenders make that decision, which the court could adjust later if it wants. Tribune’s media holdings include the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and 23 TV stations.
Other TV News: Jerry Lewis To Retire As Telethon Host; Premiere Date For ‘Hot In Cleveland’; Tribune Preps ‘Bill Cunningham’
With the upfronts in full swing in New York, it’s easy to forget there’s plenty of news that doesn’t break inside hotel ballrooms. A roundup:
– Jerry Lewis said today that he will retire as host of the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s annual Labor Day Telethon, which he has hosted since 1966. He will make his final appearance during this year’s show Sept. 4 to perform his signature song, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Lewis will continue as national chairman of the MDA, a position he’s held since the early 1950s.
– TV Land’s original scripted series Hot In Cleveland is returning for 12 new episodes beginning June 15 at 10 PM, the network announced. It will be followed by the new Fran Drescher sitcom Happily Divorced, which began production today.
– Tribune Broadcasting is partnering with ITV Studios America to produce The Bill Cunningham Show, which will air on Tribune stations nationwide beginning in the fall. The hourlong talk show from the attorney/radio host will be topically driven; Kim Brechka (The Montel Williams Show) is executive producer.
EXCLUSIVE: The Kennedys may take an unconventional route to U.S. television screens, via syndication. The producers of the controversial miniseries, which was dropped by History earlier this month, are in talks with Tribune Broadcasting about picking up the 8-hour project starring Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes. A rep for Tribune confirmed that the company has been in talks for the mini, declining further comment.
I hear that Tribune has made an offer and may actually land the mini, which is being shopped by producers Muse Entertainment and Asylum Entertainment. There are also cable nets in the running, but Tribune might have a leg up as History has a say in who gets the program and may not be willing to have it run on a direct competitor. “I’m not sure if History wants another (basic) cable net to air it so they might take less money to have it in syndication,” a source said.
History has to approve a buyer, as it did early on with premium cable network Showtime, which ultimately passed on the mini. DirecTV, which engaged in talks for The Kennedys but ended up not making a deal, also is not a direct competitor to History. (Meanwhile, I hear BBC America made a serious play for the mini but, even if History gives its blessing, sourced doubted the cable net could afford the lavish $25-million production as its offers have come too low.)