'Big Four' keep up fin-syn fight


Although Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell has said
that a reimposition of any variant on the financial interest and syndication (fin-syn)
rules will not be a part of the current broadcast-ownership-rule review,
scheduled for a June 2 vote, the networks aren't taking any chances.

Given the concerns expressed by other commissioners about the possible effects
of consolidation on programming quality and diversity, the networks want to make
sure that a writer- and producer-led push to set aside 25 percent of network
schedules for independent productions, or another limiting broadcast and cable
networks to 50 percent in-house production, don't sneak into the proceeding.

The "Big Four" filed a 66-page document with the commission this week laying
out their case that any new fin-syn rules are unjustifiable in the current media
marketplace and legally unsupportable.