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BROADCAST NEWS: CHECKING TED TURNER'S TO-DO LIST
Published October 27, 1994
TURNER & NBC: In New York, John Durie reports on what TBS Chair Ted Turner needs before he can go ahead with his bid for NBC. First, Turner must sell "a sizable asset like his cartoon network in exchange" for Time Warner's equity stake in his company. Then, he needs TCI Chair John Malone to sell down his 24% stake in TBS to 5% to get around restrictions on broadcast TV nets owning cable operating systems. GE CEO Jack Welch would like to sell NBC for more than $5.5B "to help the market forget his Kidder Peabody debacle. If you want to sell an asset, it's a good idea to create some noise to establish a bidding race, and Turner is a convenient vehicle to meet this end" (N.Y. POST, 10/27). CBS AD WATCH: Despite being the No. 1 net in ratings the past three years, CBS is "being forced to give back to advertisers free commercial time to compensate for a severe ratings shortfall in specific age groups." Ad execs estimate that CBS will have to give back $25-40M in ad time to satisfy sponsors. Privately, CBS sources say the figure is closer to $25M. Last year, CBS had to give sponsors about $10M in free ad time (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/27). FOX FIGHTING ON: Fox Sports, which has an offer pending for Wimbledon, might add boxing, possibly on Saturdays. Fox Sports President David Hill: "We're the new kid on the block. We're looking at opportunities in all sports" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 10/27).