The recent news that Sinclair plans on surrendering the licenses to three ABC affiliates currently owned by Allbritton to comply with FCC regulations over joint sales agreements may have left some wondering if the deal with Allbritton was in jeopardy.
But Allbritton’s SVP of legal strategic affairs and general counsel Jerry Fritz told TVSpy by email the deal is still on and is expected to close by June or July.
Fritz told us, “All incidents of common ownership and control of stations in the three markets where Allbritton and Sinclair have stations will be eliminated.”
He said Sinclair plans to sell either ABC affiliate WHTM or CBS affiliate WHP in Harrisburg, PA, to an independent third party buyer and said Sinclair’s plan to give up the licenses to WCFT-WJSU in Birmingham and WCIV in Charleston will eliminate any all common control of those stations.
Fritz also tried to reassure the viewers and the employees of WCFT-WJSU and WCIV by saying, “[T]he public will not be deprived of the programming as that will be carried on Sinclair’s existing stations.” And echoed Sinclair’s assertion that it intends to air ABC network shows, syndicated programming and local programming on MyNetworkTV affiliates WABM in Birmingham and WMMP in Charleston. “It will be seamless to the viewers in those markets and the studios and personnel will remain the same,”
He ended by saying, “We fully expect the deal to be approved with these changes.”