Viacom President and CEO Mel Karmazin addressed the CBS affiliates meeting in Las Vegas Thursday, reiterating his stance that he expects all Viacom's TV outlets to fare "extremely well" in the upcoming upfronts.
Karmazin said the other major networks were wrong for not having similar meetings. CBS is likely continue its affiliate meetings, he said. Neither Viacom's radio nor TV stations will be returning to NAB, Karmazin said. He also said there are no negotiations taking place with News Corp. about joint ownership in UPN, but said he would welcome News Corp.'s interest.
Karmazin and CBS Television President Leslie Moonves met privately with top CBS affiliates earlier in the day in what were described as heated, yet productive discussions. The two sides have been at odds since the Network Affiliated Stations Alliance filed an anti-network petition at the FCC in March.
"We didn't get enough time to really accomplish too much," says Ray Deaver, chairman of CBS's affiliate board. "We hope to follow this up with subsequent meetings, but I think all of us felt like it was a start." Deaver said the two sides discussed preemptions, repurposing and digital must carry and continue to disagree over the station ownership cap.
- Joe Schlosser