Karmazin passes on Hallmark


Viacom Inc. president Mel Karmazin said last week that Viacom has passed
on buying Hallmark Channel, the cable network being shopped by parent Crown
Media Holdings Inc.

'I like niche networks with lots of cash flow,' Karmazin told Broadcasting
& Cable
during the magazine's 2002 Hall of Fame ceremonies in New York.

Bravo, however, was a different matter. Karmazin acknowledged that he had
maneuvered to buy Bravo but couldn't structure an offer that matched NBC's $1.25
billion bid to parent Cablevision Systems Corp.

The odd structure of that deal, he added, gives Cablevision tax benefits
that he estimates are worth another $400 million.

'If we could have won with a $1.25 billion cash bid, we would have,' he said

Given Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone's recent investor-conference
declaration 00 'I'm optimistic that Mel will stay. He shares my passion for
Viacom' -- some were concluding that Karmazin wants to keep his corner office a while.

But when B&C offered
that Redstone's comment suggested that the two had worked out their differences,
Karmazin responded: 'What makes you say that? Contrary to certain statements in
the press, I haven't made any decision. I've committed to stay through May