Get ready for a whole new retrans game, now that Viacom moved up the date that it expects to separate into 2 publicly traded companies to the end of the year (instead of 1Q ’06). Les Moonves already has threatened to seek USA Net-like cash for carriage of CBS stations and announced plans to launch new digital channel, CBS2. Moonves will head up CBS Corp, which includes CBS, Showtime and UPN. The split should make for interesting negotiations with the Tom Freston-led Viacom, which no longer will be able to use retrans leverage for carriage of cable nets such as Logo and Nick Gas. Sumner Redstone will serve as chmn for both of the new companies.

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FTC Rejects Vertical Merger Guidelines

The FTC voted Wednesday to rescind the vertical merger guidelines it jointly issued in June 2020 with the DOJ .

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