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NAB: Mum's the Word at NBC Affiliates Board Meeting

Lawlor, Harbert, Fiorile, others work out station-network strategy behind closed doors

4/17/2012 06:22:44 PM Eastern

Complete Coverage: NAB 2012

If something significant went down at the NBC affiliates board meeting in Las Vegas April 17, the board members most certainly were not saying as much. Ted Harbert, NBC Broadcasting chairman, represented the network in the meeting. Brian Lawlor, senior VP of Scripps, represents the board as its chairman.

"I have nothing," said Lawlor as he rushed out. "It was a good meeting."

Several other board members, including past chairman Michael Fiorile, Gannett Broadcasting president Dave Lougee and LIN Media President/CEO Vince Sadusky, similarly declined comment, as did Harbert.

"We're a tight board," allowed Fiorile.

Other attendees included Belo President/CEO Dunia Shive and Raycom President/CEO Paul McTear.

Likely topics included the board's ongoing push to work out a proxy arrangement with the network, which would see NBC negotiate retransmission consent deals on behalf of affiliates, and NBC parent Comcast's efforts to jumpstart prime. Most affiliates feel Comcast is still in its honeymoon period when it comes to judging primetime results, and believe the media giant is making the kind of investment in development required to turn up a few hits. 

The complex proxy deal appeared nearly completed several months ago, but may be on hold. The death of Joseph Donnelly, CFO at NBC Broadcasting and a key player in the proxy negotiations, was a setback for the arrangement.

The group likely discussed NBC's -- and the affiliates' -- Summer Olympics plans as well.

Jordan Wertlieb, executive VP of Hearst Television, takes over the board chairman role from Lawlor next month, when the affiliates meet during Upfront Week in New York.

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