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CABLE OPERATORS WATCHING CLOSELY THE PLAN FOR FX
Published December 20, 1995
The future of Fox's fX cable channel in the wake of the Fox- Liberty sports alliance is examined by VARIETY's Joe Flint. The partnership plans to use fX as a "major part" of its sports plans, turning it into a "nationally distributed, general entertainment and sports network." Flint notes that fX "already has the entertainment; how it will incorporate the sports -- and how much it will have to incorporate -- is the key question." fX will start carrying MLB telecasts in '97 and could start carrying other sports, including the NHL and some regional programming as part of the Liberty venture. Flint reports cable operators are watching "closely," as those that don't carry fX "would be more interested if it had a heavy load of sports, while those that do carry the network are nervous about an overhaul." One cable operator warned: "If the model is USA Network or TNT, then it would probably be consistent with what they sold us. However, if it is anything close to a regional sports channel or a network with a strong load of secondary sports, then it is totally out of bounds. If TCI and Fox think that is what they will create, then they'll have a revolution on their hands" (VARIETY, 12/17 issue). GIVE HIM LIBERTY: Liberty Media President Peter Barton discusses their partnership with Fox in the current issue of INSIDE MEDIA. On securing MLB TV rights, Barton said what made the Fox-Liberty partnership attractive to baseball were their national-local "interrelationships." Barton: "We have the rights here to cross-promote between the regionals, which show on the order of 1,200 baseball games a year -- more than anybody else ... Nobody else really has that kind of cross-promotional and branding capability" (Brockinton & Reynolds, INSIDE MEDIA, 12/13 issue).