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Time Warner, Tribune Near Accord on WB

January 17, 2006|Meg James

Time Warner Inc. and Tribune Co. are close to finalizing an affiliation agreement that could keep the money-losing WB network afloat, Garth Ancier, the network's chairman, said Monday.

Appearing at a gathering of the Television Critics' Assn. in Pasadena, Ancier said a multiyear renewal of the companies' joint venture was probable "within the next few weeks."

Ancier said what has delayed an agreement on the long-term deal was that Tribune, which publishes the Los Angeles Times, had wanted WB programming to be available primarily on the broadcast network, not on other platforms. But when Walt Disney Co.'s ABC signed a deal last fall to make its hit shows available on Apple Computer Inc.'s video iPod, Ancier said, Tribune softened its stance.

Time Warner owns 78% of the WB network and Tribune, 22%. Tribune stations are the network's largest affiliate group.

-- Meg James

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