NBC: Pax 'Abandoning' Net Programming


Ailing Pax TV will virtually cease entertainment programming and instead load its schedule with infomercials, which is drawing protests from 32%-owner NBC Universal.

Paxson Communications Corp. said in a securities filing that it plans to "substantially reduce or eliminate our sales of spot advertisements that are based on audience ratings."

The company added, "We are not currently investing substantial additional amounts in new entertainment programming and are evaluating other programming strategies and opportunities that might be available to us that could improve our cash flow."

The company plans to subsist primarily on infomercials, direct response and other paid programming.

That annoyed NBC, which is responsible for selling advertising on Pax TV stations in markets where they both have outlets.

"Paxson apparently intends to abandon network programming and rely primarily on infomercials, direct-response advertising and paid programming as revenue sources," NBC said in a statement.

Paxson cut approximately 50 staffers in February, with the majority of job losses coming in the Pax TV network programming side.

Paxson recently lost a big fight when the FCC decided not to grant multicasting must-carry to local TV stations (Paxson has challenged that decision).

Paxson wanted the FCC to require cable companies to carry all of the programming that TV stations can offer via their new digital spectrum. That would increase the value of Paxson's  mostly-UHF stations, which are widely believed to have been on the block, or near it, for some time. --John Eggerton contributed to this report.