Time Warner looks at TV network plan

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The Independent Online
TIME WARNER, the entertainment giant that owns the Warner Brothers studio and America's second largest cable TV distributor, is considering a plan to launch a national television network in the US, writes Larry Black.

The Warner Brothers channel, which would be distributed through independent big city broadcast stations and Time Warner cable outlets, would become the fifth US broadcast network, competing with the three traditional networks and News Corporation's Fox.

It was reported that Warner executives this week met Jamie Kellner, the former president of Fox Broadcasting, and Christ-Craft Industries and the Tribune Company, owners of unaffiliated stations in New York, Los Angeles and other important TV markets.

Warner, one of Hollywood's most successful film studios, is also the largest TV producer in the US, supplying the existing networks with much of their prime-time progamming.

Industry analysts said a Warner TV network would provide yet another medium for the studio's vast archive while guaranteeing it a venue for new production now that US regulators have given the TV networks the right to produce their shows.

One report on the Warner plan said the new network would cost as much as dollars 2bn to launch. But a source close to the negotiations said yesterday that the figure was 'way too high'.