Chernin seeks a balance as Fox races into upfront

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News Corp. President-Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin has presided over one of the most historic turnarounds at any broadcast network. Its Fox Broadcasting Co. leapt from the depths of the ratings charts to within a whisker of pulling off the ultimate coup-its first-ever season victory in the key adult 18-49 race.

No matter what happens to its ratings for the remainder of the May sweeps period, Fox will reap big advertising rewards in upfront revenue and perhaps double-digit cost-per-thousand increases. But that could cause some problems with advertisers.

The prospect of major price increases has media agency buyers and advertisers threatening to take their money to cable or keep it on the sidelines, and Fox, as a leader going into the upfront, will be followed closely.

On the eve of the upfront, Los Angeles Bureau Chief Wayne Friedman discussed this and other issues with Mr. Chernin.

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