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Television: Seeking to capitalize on the broad...

Television: Seeking to capitalize on the broad reach of its new station group, CBS Inc. on Monday agreed to purchase a Los Angeles-based television distributor and put its founder, respected syndication executive Ed Wilson, in charge of the network’s newly created production and distribution division.

Maxam Entertainment, acquired from Wilson and the A.H. Belo Corp. station group, will be merged with CBS’ own television sales arm and the Group W production and syndication unit of its parent, Westinghouse Electric Corp. Under the agreement, Belo has an option to buy an interest in any first-run program created by the division for three years.

Adding Belo’s station reach of 8.3% of U.S. households to CBS’ 32% will give the network the broadest reach of any such alliance, including one between New World Communications and Fox Broadcasting Corp. It also reinforces the increasing importance of distribution alliances in selling TV shows outside the networks--largely at the expense of big syndicators such as Columbia TriStar Television and King World.


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