Station group leaders, concerned about new affiliation terms set out by Fox, have assembled for a hastily scheduled meeting in Dallas July 17 to address the situation. Fox network brass is aware of the meeting, but was not believed to be invited.
The meeting is "to discuss a variety of challenges, issues and opportunities," said Jeff Rosser, Fox affiliates board chairman, in an email to group leaders. Rosser noted "new demands being made by Fox, especially at a time when Fox primetime is down significantly."
One group chief with knowledge of the meeting's agenda said it was related to contract language in the affiliation renewal terms.
Rosser did not return a call for comment. On July 16, he saluted the expanded roles of Dana Walden and Gary Newman, recently appointed chairmen/CEOs of Fox Television Group . "I trust the folks at Fox network to pick the person, or persons, who will do a great job of getting Fox's prime schedule turned around," said the Raycom group VP.
At least 60 station group leaders planned to attend-indicating the gravity of the matter.
Fox has traditionally been aggressive in its reverse compensation demands. Affiliates fought the terms bitterly back in 2011 but later conceded Fox's strategy for extracting maximum retrans cash from MVPDs-and from its partner stations--was a savvy one.
With Fox's primetime slumping, the affiliates body is less conciliatory these days.