Court is told to wait for FCC

Network affiliates and the NAB last week urged federal judges to reject a lawsuit by CBS, NBC and Fox that seeks to strike down the ownership cap.

The court is not obliged to review the networks' petition until they have exhausted avenues for overturning the rule at the FCC, said the Network Affiliated Stations Alliance and NAB. Furthermore, the nets don't have standing to sue because the FCC has taken no overt action to uphold the 35% cap on TV household reach but merely issued a report to Congress suggesting the rule be preserved, the groups said. Rather than seek a court remedy, NAB and NASA said the nets should be required to petition the FCC to eliminate or raise the cap in a full-fledged rulemaking.

FTC OK'S Univision's usa purchase

The Federal Trade Commission Tuesday cleared Univision's proposed purchase of USA Broadcasting, the two companies said. Last December, Univision signed a deal to buy for $1.1 billion the USA Networks' subsidiary, comprising 13 full-power TV stations and minority interests in four others. The FTC found no evidence of antitrust violations in the proposed purchase and requested early termination of a waiting period required by the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, which governs U.S. antitrust authorities. The deal, which is expected to close this quarter, still must be approved by the FCC.