After 18 months as an independent, Fort Wayne TV station WFFT Local – starting March 1 – will again become a Fox network affiliate after an agreement was reached to dismiss a federal civil antitrust suit.
Nexstar Broadcasting Inc. of Irving, Texas, which owns WFFT, and Granite Broadcasting Corp. of New York, owner of WISE-TV in Fort Wayne, agreed to the dismissal, according to paperwork filed Wednesday with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana in Fort Wayne.
The conflict arose in 2011 when Granite – which was carrying NBC shows on WISE and ABC shows on WPTA, in addition to The CW – landed a deal to show Fox programming, which came after Nexstar was unable to rework an agreement with the network that features such hits as “American Idol,” “Glee” and the NFL.
Nexstar’s lawsuit accused Granite of trying to “monopolize local advertising sales in the Fort Wayne” area.
Nexstar contended that Granite’s network agreements unfairly positioned the company to set high advertising rates, which would filter down to viewers. Nexstar replaced Fox with WFFT Local on Aug. 1, 2011. The station features expanded community news, popular syndicated shows and movies.