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Paxson COO Comments on Infomercial Speculation

Mar 29, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Paxson Communications President and Chief Operating Officer Dean Goodman said Tuesday that his company isn’t planning to adopt an infomercial programming format, despite widespread speculation to the contrary.

“The company has no plans to modify the amount of entertainment programming it’s doing on the air, or switch to an infomercial programming format,” Mr. Goodman said in an interview with TelevisionWeek.

Mr. Goodman’s comments come as speculation mounted that Paxson, which has struggled amid a heavy debt load and weak television ratings, looks to abandon its current programming format in favor of infomercials or some other form of paid programming.

At the same time, and perhaps in connection with a potential programming shift, sources said, Paxson is also in the midst of unraveling joint sales agreements at its more than 45 television stations.

According to a source familiar with the matter, Paxson officials informed employees Monday during a conference call that the company’s 47 JSAs were being unwound by June 30. The officials said most people at the company would keep their jobs.

For his part, Mr. Goodman refused to discuss the status of Paxson’s JSAs. Nor would Mr. Goodman say whether Paxson or another party initiated the unwinding of the JSAs.

Mr. Goodman did say that the company in February embarked on a cost-cutting plan and that Paxson “continues in that process.” He declined to provide details of those expense reduction efforts, saying that details would be available in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that he expects to be filed later this week.

Mr. Goodman also noted that a programming alliance struck last year with NBC to develop shows for Paxson’s network Pax TV was only a year-long deal that has since ended. He refused to say whether Paxson and NBC are negotiating to extend the partnership, though he said that “lingering projects” in various forms of development do exist.