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New World Pursuing Nashville Station for Switch to Fox : Television: The acquisition would mean another loss of an affiliate by a Big Three network.

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

New World Communications Group, which shook up the media world two weeks ago when it announced it would convert eight CBS stations it owns to Fox affiliates, is negotiating to acquire WSMV-TV in Nashville, Tenn., industry sources said Wednesday.

New World would switch the popular NBC affiliate to Fox, the sources said. Fox is currently carried on WZTV-TV in the market. The deal is reportedly valued at more than $100 million, sources added.

WSMV is owned by Cook Inlet Communications Corp., which also agreed Wednesday to sell WTNH-TV, the ABC affiliate in Hartford and New Haven, Conn., to LIN Broadcasting Corp. for about $120 million plus 11.5% of LIN’s common stock.

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On Wednesday, LIN announced it would spin off about 42% of the common stock of LIN Television Corp., which owns seven TV stations, to its shareholders. LIN is owned by McCaw Cellular Communications Inc., which will remain its shareholder.

New World has been negotiating for WSMV-TV for several weeks, and a deal is expected to be concluded shortly, the sources said. LIN and New World could not be reached for comment.

The broadcasting industry has been in near turmoil since Fox unveiled a deal last month to invest $500 million in New World, in exchange for 20% of the company stock and the eventual conversion of up to 12 New World-owned TV stations to Fox affiliates.

TV station owners have watched almost overnight as their assets have risen in value as the networks jostle for new affiliates in the wake of Fox’s raid on CBS stations.

Underlying the renewed confidence in over-the-air broadcasting is the turnaround in the national TV advertising marketplace and the emerging consensus that the information superhighway will be more costly and take much longer to build than once projected.

Many broadcasters are anticipating a renewed bidding frenzy for TV stations, similar to the one that swept the industry in the mid- to late 1980s.

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New World is controlled by Revlon cosmetics mogul Ronald O. Perelman. As part of the Fox deal to invest $500 million in New World, the two companies will jointly develop programming for syndication and the Fox network.

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