But last week's strategic alliance with Westinghouse Broadcasting Co. provides the momentum and stability Black Rock needs regardless of who takes control. The alliance is also a potentially devastating blow for CBS competitors, particularly NBC.
As part of the deal, the five Group W TV stations signed 10-year affiliation agreements with CBS, including two NBC stations (WBZ, Boston, and KYW, Philadelphia) and ABC affiliate WJZ, Baltimore.
The deal was a particular blow for NBC, which was courting Group W for a similar deal but now loses key affiliates.
The Boston station is especially damaging for NBC because it's hometown for "Tonight Show" star Jay Leno and has been a strong market for NBC. NBC may now have difficulty finding a strong station to affiliate with.
CBS and Group W, meanwhile, will combine their stations into a group that reaches about 30% of U.S. TV homes.
CBS will affiliate with Group W's Philadelphia station KYW and will sell or trade its Philadelphia station WCAU to pick up coverage in other key markets.
The CBS/Group W deal also creates a new sales venture that will jointly rep the CBS and Group W stations.