CBS Renews TV Affiliation Deals With Four Sinclair Broadcast Stations

Sinclair Broadcast Group seems eager to tie up loose ends as the FCC weighs the company’s $3.9 billion deal to buy Tribune Media. Just weeks after renewing some affiliation deals with Fox, the TV station owner says today that it has a multi-year deal with CBS for some outlets whose affiliations were to expire at the end of 2018.

The extensions cover CBS affiliates in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Harlingen, TX; and Portland, ME. The agreement also covers a Syracuse, NY affiliate covered by a Sinclair joint sales agreement.

The stations collectively reach 1.5 million homes. The deal suggests that Sinclair won’t have a problem renewing 20 other CBS affiliates.  Sinclair’s CBS stations reach 9 million homes, or 8% of the U.S.

CBS President of Network Distribution Ray Hopkins calls the pacts “a win-win with our longtime partner who recognizes the value that the number one network brings to viewers in these markets, while CBS continues to deliver industry-leading content and achieve both our short and long-term economic goals.”

Sinclair EVP for Distribution and Network Relations Barry Faber says the renewals “reflect the value of the symbiotic relationship, with the local news and syndicated content we provide.”

Some of Sinclair’s news policies are controversial. HBO’s John Oliver recently blasted Sinclair’s inclusion of “must-run” pieces for its stations including commentary from President Trump’s former senior advisor Boris Epshteyn and frequent reports from a “Terrorism Alert Desk.”

“Sinclair and its digital news subsidiary Circa not only produce and send packages to their stations; they even write scripts that local anchors use to introduce the pieces,” Oliver said.

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