Tribune renews Fox agreements as deal with Sinclair continues to unravel

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Tribune Media has renewed agreements with the Fox Broadcasting Corporation that allows eight broadcast stations within its company to continue serving as Fox affiliates.

In a press release issued Monday morning, Tribune said its stations in Seattle, Denver, Cleveland, St. Louis, Kansas City, Salta Lake City, Milwaukee and Greensboro, North Carolina were affected by the extended agreement. All of those stations were already Fox affiliates and will continue airing Fox programming under the renewed agreement.

The deal did not affect some Tribune stations that already carry Fox programming, including Sacramento’s KTXL (Channel 40) and San Diego’s KSWB (Channel 69).

The news comes as Tribune’s multi-billion dollar proposed merger with Sinclair Broadcasting Group appears to have stalled following the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to subject the deal to further scrutiny by referring the matter to an administrative review judge. The FCC said its decision was promoted by Sinclair’s alleged mismanagement of the deal, including Sinclair’s purported concealing of certain information from regulators and questionable maneuverings that would permit the company to sell off certain operations in an attempt to appease regulators while effectively retaining control of the stations.

Some of the Tribune stations that were affected by the Fox renewal agreement were subject to divestiture by Sinclair if the merger with Tribune took place, according to filings both companies made with the FCC earlier this year. Those stations would have been sold to Fox under a separate agreement, the filings said.

On Monday, the Chicago Tribune reported senior management executives at Tribune could lose tens of millions of dollars if the deal falls through. Both companies have until Wednesday to back out of the deal without any kind of penalty.