Shaw renegs on promise to save TV stations

Hey, remember a couple of months ago when Shaw said it would buy three endangered CTV-owned stations for $1 each in what seemed like the most insincere offer in the history of mankind?

Yeah, turns out it was a giant bluff. After going over the books for the three stations, Shaw determined that they are, indeed, losing quite a bit of money and it’s not worth the CRTC brownie points and good PR to sink more cash into the stations. CTV issued a brief statement Tuesday afternoon saying Shaw reneged. Media outlets have repeated the statement, but Shaw and CTV aren’t commenting further yet, and the stations can’t comment because they don’t know what’s going on.

This comes (coincidentally?) on the same day Canwest announced it will offload two stations onto Channel Zero.

So CKX-TV in Brandon, Man., CHWI-TV in Wheatley (Windsor), Ont., and CKNX-TV in Wingham, Ont., go back to being endangered and unless another buyer can be lined up they won’t last past the summer.

The optimism they had when the deal was announced now flies right out the window.

UPDATE: Canadian Press is the only outlet that finally tracks Shaw down to get comment. They say they expected real television stations but saw hollowed-out shells where much of the work was done in London and Toronto. Meanwhile, CTV says it will keep CHWI running for another year after getting more money from the CRTC.

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