UPN/Chris-Craft Deal Seen Near

By Christian
January 10, 2001 - 10:47 PM

According to a report in Monday's edition of the New York Times, a deal is expected to close soon between the UPN television network and 8 of its affiliate stations that were recently acquired by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

During the recent Pasadena press meeting, UPN already assured critics gathered there that the network would be able to continue to survive. Sources of the Hollywood Reporter said that the final deal between the Chris-Craft station group and UPN is expected to be for three years, and with less than a week remaining before the January 15 expiration of the current contract, negotiations between the two sides are almost complete.

According to the New York Times report, there is also a good chance that in the future News Corp. will have more influence over UPN, using the leverage power of the many important affiliates it owns. News Corp. president Peter Chermin was quoted in the paper as saying he would be interested in working with UPN. "Our thinking is we would like the UPN to continue either 100 percent owned by Viacom, or in partnership with us. [...] Maybe we'd take it over."

Though Viacom declined to comment on Chernin's statements, the company's actions do show that it realises it might not be able to continue operating the network on its own. Recently, it shelved plans to rebrand UPN as 'The Paramount Network', leaving in the U, which stands for 'United' and was originally brought in the name to signify that the network was operated jointly with Chris-Craft.

But whoever ends up running UPN, with the affiliation agreement nearing completion, it seems all Voyager fans currently able to see the show can at least be assured of seeing the end of the series. For more on this, please read Reuters' summary of the New York Times article.

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