Producers: Need for ownership change not proven - Broadcasting & Cable

Producers: Need for ownership change not proven

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A group of TV producers (with an actress and a couple of academics thrown in,
too) warned Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell that
Americans may think "the fix is in" when it comes to permitting more media
consolidation.

Criticizing his op-ed piece in Tuesday's USA Today, the Center for the
Creative Community said in a prepared statement that Powell "appears to have made up his
mind" that media-ownership rules should change, "even as the FCC continues to
receive evidence from the public."

That particular attack ignored the fact, however, that the Federal Appeals Court in
Washington, D.C., has already told Powell that some of the rules must
change.

Unimpressed by Powell's insistence that some version of the rules are needed
to protect "bedrock principles of our republic," such as ensuring a diversity of
news sources, the center said he has ignored his own charge to examine "just the
facts."

For instance, despite his proclamation that "choices abound" on television,
they noted that just five companies produced and distributed the fast majority of
broadcast- and cable-TV programming.

The group also complained that Powell is ignoring the dearth of programming
produced outside of the big networks' in-house departments.

The center's board of advisers, named in Wednesday's statement, included
Writers Guild of America president and producer Victoria Riskin, Oscar-winning
writer and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Frank Pierson,
actress Sissy Spacek, staffers of the University of Southern California's
Annenberg School of Communication and several other producers.

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