News In Brief

US supports ban on profits for networks in TV reruns

The Reagan administration said Thursday it favors keeping regulations that bar the major television networks from sharing in the profits of program reruns. William Baxter, assistant attorney general for antitrust, told a Senate subcommittee that the administration would support a two-year moratorium on any changes in Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules.

Until now President Reagan, a former actor, had not taken a public position but was said privately to favor Hollywood producers opposing the networks. The producers claimed that letting the networks into the lucrative market of syndicating progtrams would give them excessive economic power. Current FCC rules prohibit the networks from selling the shows to independent stations as reruns, a practice known as syndication.

The FCC tentatively decided Aug. 4 the networks could enter the syndication market, valued at $800 million a year, but included restrictions to prevent anticompetitive actions.

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