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Gannett adds to TV holdings with six Texas stations but London Broadcasting holds onto the big one in Dallas

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Gannett Co., Inc. added to its growing Texas TV empire Wednesday by announcing an intent to purchase six stations from London Broadcasting for a price of $215 million.

But London’s biggest Texas fish by far, Dallas-based KTXD-TV (Ch. 47), remains in the hands of London.

“We did not want to sell Dallas,” London senior vice president and COO Phil Hurley said in an email reply Wednesday. “We are pleased with our progress in Dallas and the development of our shows.”

Hurley, who is in New York meeting with Gannett officials, said the company was not barred by Federal Communications Commission regulations from owning a second station in Dallas, the country’s fifth-largest TV market. Late last year, Gannett took control of Dallas-based WFAA8, ending more than 60 years of local ownership by Belo Corp.

Under the new deal, expected to be finalized this summer, Hurley will continue to “lead the six stations,” according to a Gannett publicity release. He’ll also be guiding the fortunes of KTXD, which in March canceled its locally produced The Texas Daily while continuing to originate The Broadcast from its Dallas studios. Modeled after The View, the two-hour program airs live from 9 to 11 a.m. weekdays and is repeated from 4 to 6 p.m.

The View also has been syndicated to London’s six Texas stations, and that won’t change under Gannett ownership, Hurley said Wednesday.

Gannett’s Texas purchases are NBC affiliate KCEN-TV in Waco-Temple-Bryan; KYTX-TV (CBS) in Tyler-Longview; KIII-TV (ABC) in Corpus Christi; KBMT-TV (ABC) and its digital sub-Channel KJAC (NBC) in Beaumont-Port Arthur; KXVA-TV (Fox) in Abilene-Sweetwater; and KIDY-TV (Fox) in San Angelo.

“The purchase of these stations further deepens Gannett’s broadcasting presence in the high-growth state of Texas without any overlap of Gannett’s current
portfolio,” the company’s announcement says.

Gannett’s other Texas holdings, besides WFAA8, are KHOU-TV (CBS) in Houston; KENS-TV (CBS) in San Antonio; and KVUE-TV (ABC) in Austin. All were previously owned by Belo until the Dallas-based corporation sold off all of its TV properties.

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