The Media Notepad: Comcast drops bid for Fox assets

Also: Start TV debuts; WGN Block Party in Homewood; and Comic-Con begins today.

Consider it deal done…for Disney: Comcast announced Thursday it was dropping its $65 million bid for 21st Century Fox, essentially giving rival Disney a victory in the battle for the assets.

Disney agreed to buy most of 21st Century Fox in December originally for $52 billion but Comcast decided to bid of the properties after AT&T and TimeWarner received approval from a judge to merge their companies. Disney has since raised its bid to $71 billion, topping Comcast’s $65 billion.

But the Justice Department has appealed the judge’s decision in the AT&T-TimeWarner case, which could undo the merger. Along with the likelihood of the Sinclair-Tribune deal being squashed, Comcast decided to drop its bid for Disney amid regulatory concerns and instead focus on buying UK broadcaster Sky, which is also up for sale by Fox.

“Comcast does not intend to pursue further the acquisition of the Twenty-First Century Fox assets and, instead, will focus on our recommended offer for Sky”, Comcast said in a statement.

The Justice Department has already approved the Disney-Fox transaction, and 21st Century Fox board members can approve the sale in their July 27 meeting. The transaction includes everything in Fox’s portfolio with the exception of Fox News, Fox Broadcasting, Fox Business Channel, the Fox O&Os, FS1, FS2, Fox Sports, Big Ten Network, and My Network TV. Disney has at least ninety days to find a buyer for Fox Sports’ 22 regional sports networks, though Comcast could be an interested suitor for at least some of the properties.

Yet another new diginet is on the way: this time it’s Start TV, a new digital subchannel from Weigel Broadcastingtargeted to women 25-54 featuring female-skewing hour-long procedural dramas. Shows featured include The Closer, Medium, Crossing Jordan, Cold Case, Profiler, and The Division. Also coming is The Good Wife in January 2019. CBS Television Stations is the launch partner.

““We are excited to launch the Start TV Network with the CBS Television Stations,” said Neal Sabin, Vice Chairman of Weigel.Each of these acclaimed TV series is built around compelling female lead characters and portrayed by amazing award-winning actresses. This is an exciting network concept and great opportunity to present these proven procedural dramas.””

The launch takes place on September 3 (Labor Day) with each show stripped in the same time period every day of the week. Headliner programs are being showcased with multiple episodes airing in multi-hour blocks in a “mini-binge” format.

CBS will add Start TV to its digital subchannels on its owned-and-operated stations including WBBM-TV in Chicago, where it will replace Decades on its 2.2 and 48.4 frequencies. Weigel is adding Start TV to its stations in St. Louis, Salt Lake City, Milwaukee, and South Bend, and is also being added by Bahakel Communications’ station group, giving Start TV 42 percent of the country at launch.

In Los Angeles and Chicago, Decades is expected to relocate to one of Weigel’s frequencies though didn’t specify which (in Chicago, either WCIU or WMEU) as the fate of Decades in other CBS markets has yet to be determined. Weigel said it remains committed to Decades, but the channel has had rough footing on a program format since its launch in 2015. Decades continues to produce some original programming, such as the one-hour strip Through The Decades, hosted by Bill Kurtis. Originally scheduled as a six-hour programming block airing four times every weekday, Decades now consists of off-network sitcoms during the day and documentaries and classic variety and talk shows in the evening hours, and weekend “binges” of classic TV shows.

While WGN employees are sweating it out on who the future owners of their station would be, the morning news crew headed out to south suburban Homewood (a place this person has been many times to shop and dine) for their 3rd annual WGN Block Party featuring a parade, marching bands, and a lot of people having a good time.

This is the first time the Tribune Media station held the block party in the Southland. Previous block parties were held in north suburban Geneva and Park Ridge.

As documented by TVNewsCheck, the festivities took place on Ridge Road between Harwood Avenue and Dixie Highway, just a short distance from Homewood’s Metra/Amtrak station and in front of the La Banque Hotel. Coming in from Bradley Place were WGN morning team personalities Robin Baumgarten, Marcus LeShock, Larry Potash, Dean Richards, Paul Konrad, and Man Of The People host Pat Tomasulo.

It was also a homecoming for several media personalities who made it big from Homewood. Appearing at the block party (and later participating in the parade) included Konrad, WSCR’s Laurence Holmes and White Sox broadcaster Jason Benetti.

All in all, a good time and goes to show you how much local TV is important to our communities.

On a side note, a beloved institution this person visited frequently in Homewood was damaged Tuesday when a vehicle crashed into a Dairy Queen on the corner of Ridge and Gladville Road, not far where Friday’s parade took place. Two people in the car were injured and taken to a local hospital. Thankfully, the Dairy Queen was unoccupied at the time the accident happened.

The ice cream stand – a staple of Homewood for over fifty years, plans to rebuild.

In case you haven’t noticed, the 48th annual San Diego Comic-Con began today and lasts until Sunday. Like this year’s NATPE conference, there isn’t much news expected to come out of Comic-Con, given big draws such as Game of Thrones and the the Marvel Cinematic Universe skipped the gathering this year and SyFy discontinued its nightly wrap-up show. There is also a lack of buzz – quite unusual for a pop-culture event of this magnitude.

For example, the cavernous Hall H is playing host to a presentation on some film called Assassination Nation. Assassination Nation? What the hell is that?

But if you’re a fan of numerous niche TV shows (such as The Good Place – who has HUGE presence, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Charmed), or a few favorites (The Big Bang Theory), then Comic-Con is the place for you. But if you’re not a fan of those shows, then you won’t care. There’s really no point in write something up few people will read. In other words, Comic-Con stopped being about science-fiction TV and film long ago and it shows this year (Magnum, P.I….really? Is Murphy Brown holding a panel too?)

Covering this year’s Comic-Con on this blog is getting harder to do with each passing year, and this time around T Dog Media is sitting this one out, at least on this platform. If you’re looking for streaming coverage, there isn’t much to speak of – unless you a Marvel fan and their coverage is limited only to their product. There is some live coverage available on YouTube, from IGN and Entertainment Tonight (yes, really.)

If you follow T Dog Media on Twitter @tdogmedia, then I’ll retweet or post any breaking news if warranted and I’ll post cool pics on the T Dog Media Instagram account, if any. Covering Comic-Con on social media is easier than doing it here, and besides – this is the way it’s done now.


1 thought on “The Media Notepad: Comcast drops bid for Fox assets

Comments are closed.