Look for a major TV station swap between Fox and Viacom as early as this week.
Sources say the two companies hope to sign and announce an agreement then
that will give Viacom a duopoly in San Francisco, with its existing KPIX(TV) CBS
affiliate and UPN affiliate KBHK(TV) that Fox picks up along with Chris-Craft.
Viacom could also end up with a duopoly in Baltimore, where both companies own
Fox is looking for duopolies in at least two other markets. Fox is eyeing
some combination of the following Viacom properties: WDCA(TV) Washington;
WUPA(TV) Atlanta, KTXH(TV) Houston and WTOG(TV) Tampa, Fla. Fox already has a
station in each of those markets and owns outright regional sports networks in
Atlanta and Houston. It has an equity stake in a Tampa regional sports network
and an affiliated regional network in Washington.
One source cautioned, however,
that it could take two weeks to finalize all the details of the pending
swaps. -- Suzanne Ault