Sinclair Boss Backs off on National Cable Channel

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Sinclair's CEO David Smith is backing away a bit when it comes to plans for WJLA's NewsChannel 8 in DC. 

After the company agreed to purchase the Allbritton stations, which included the DC cable news channel, Sinclair hinted that they were thinking about turning it into a national cable channel.  

"There's been way too much noise about the cable channel [NewsChannel 8] in Washington, D.C., and what we intend to do with it," Smith said in response to a question from Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker on whether the group was changing strategy.

"If and when we close on the Allbritton transaction, we're being handed an asset that's completely undeveloped," Smith said. "It's no more complicated than taking a television show and distributing it across the country. We view as an opportunity to take our local news platforms ... and expand them in lots of other venues."

"The thing you have to give thought to is we've become the single biggest [local] news producer in country," Smith said during this morning's call. "We have to be thoughtful about how we're going to distribute. We see the cable channel as a free option to go build the business.

"The notion that we would want to go build a CNN that nobody watches doesn't make any sense to us.”

H?T TVNewsCheck