Now more collateral damage can be found: financial executives at Granite Broadcasting have decided to bite the bullet, pulling a $180 million deal to sell two WB affiliates, KBWB in San Francisco and WDWB in Detroit, to AM Media.
This was a deal that was in the process of completion. Then CBS and Warner Bros. decided to launch a new network, putting an end to their respective UPN and WB networks.
Now Granite says new amendments to the deal will allow it to sell the stations to someone else. Nice. But we can read through this one, thank you.
What Granite really gets is a one-way ticket back to programming prime time with syndicated programming, back to a station with lesser brand value than it had in December, before CBS and Warner Bros. decided to make quick work of their respective money-losing, small networks.
The real story is that AM Media now has way less interest in the stations that have lost much of their value accrued over the last ten years. Who can blame AM Media? Granite says it still might shop the stations--but seemingly will run them as independents.
Surely what we have here is just another punch in the gut that network executives have given to their long-time station partners. Over the last several months, with a rash of on-demand deals, the networks put their affiliates on notice that times are a-changing, times where stations might not benefit financially as in previous years.
The CW had a clear view through its viewfinder when it made up its mind to take the big shot. But it may have forgotten about the recoil.