FCC Approves Viacom-CBS MergerBy Christian
May 4, 2000 - 10:58 PM
According to an article on Yahoo!, the Federal Communications Commission approved the $30 billion merger between Viacom and CBS this Wednesday. As a result, the parent company of MTV, Paramount Pictures, Spelling Entertainment, Blockbuster and an enourmous array of other media companies, will now be able to acquire the CBS network, creating a media giant rivaling Walt Disney and AOL/Time Warner.
Though the two companies are now allowed by the FCC to merge, they will have to overcome a few obstacles in the next six months. In the first place, the company will have to sell off about 15% of its local television stations, as FCC rules only allow a single company to control 35 percent - together the two companies would control 41%. In the second place, and of the most interest for Star Trek fans, the company may also have to eject UPN, the network currently airing 'Voyager'.
The reason for this is that FCC regulations forbid any one company from owning more than one nationwide network, and Viacom has been given one year to lose UPN. However, the company is lobbying for that restriction to be lifted, saying that forcing Viacom to let go of UPN will mean the network's closure. Considering how well UPN caters for minority viewers, this is not likely to be something the FCC wants, and many industry types believe that Viacom may just be granted the right to keep UPN.
Thanks go out to Jeff 'Koganuts' Koga for this!