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Paramount, MCA May Start a 5th Television Network

October 20, 1989|NANCY RIVERA BROOKS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The television arms of Paramount Communication and MCA Inc. are reportedly planning to launch a fifth television network together and have approached affiliates of Fox Broadcasting to carry the programming.

Fox Broadcasting spokesman Brad Turell said some of the network's 129 affiliates nationwide have been approached by MCA TV and Paramount Domestic TV about carrying the proposed programming. Fox also owns seven television stations, including KTTV-TV Channel 11 in Los Angeles.

MCA TV President Shelly Schwab declined to comment Thursday. Paramount officials could not be reached for comment.

The planned network reportedly would be called Premier Program Service and would debut Jan. 1, 1991, with two nights of programing.

The network would begin by showing movies on Wednesday nights and series produced by the two partners on Fridays. The series reportedly would be along the lines of Fox's "21 Jump Street" and Paramount's "Star Trek: The Next Generation." The network would add movies on Thursdays later in the year.

Fox itself is working on expansion plans beyond its current Saturday through Monday programming by late next year.

"We believe the partnership of Fox Broadcasting Co., its affiliates and advertisers is succeeding and will continue to grow as we complete our agenda, which is to program seven nights of prime time each week," Fox Broadcasting President Jamie Kellner said in a statement.

Michael Fisher, vice president and general manager of KTXL, Fox's affiliate in Sacramento, said Fox officials will be meeting with affiliates across the nation to reassure them of the company's commitment to expansion in light of the moves by Paramount and MCA.

"I don't think there's an affiliate out there that would even consider" leaving Fox, said Fisher, who is chairman of the Fox affiliate board. Fisher said he has not yet been approached by Paramount and MCA.

Staff writer Kathryn Harris contributed to this story.

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