Viacom Inc. is out of the running to buy cable television programmer Scripps Networks Interactive, according to people briefed on the matter.
That leaves rival Discovery Communications as the lone bidder for Scripps, which owns such cable channels such as HGTV, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel and the majority stake in the Food Network.
Viacom Chief Executive Bob Bakish was said to be interested in buying Scripps to bolster Viacom’s struggling cable business, which includes MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central.
But the move would have been risky for Viacom, given the company’s substantial debt load. Credit rating service Moody’s last year downgraded Viacom’s debt to the...