I recently got a better understanding of what may have been forcing
Paramount's hand re: their struggle to get a death grip on the stations,
even at the cost of B5. Over the weekend I had the chance to talk with
somebody WAY up the ladder in the Star Trek arena, a major name. From
what I was told, the Paramount Network was in serious trouble of not
getting the required number of stations for some time.
What this means is as follows: you're a national sponsor. You want
to make sure your commercials hit a certain percentage of the population.
One of the ways to assure this is to get a certain number of TV stations
in major markets; fall below that threshold, and the sponsors drop off.
Call that figure X. Apparently, up until a few weeks ago, Paramount had
X minus about 10. If indeed they were pressuring stations, that would
seem to be the reason for it. As of last week, however, apparently they
now have the correct number of stations, and all is well (which explains
why one person here on the Internet was told recently by his local
station that it *was* kind of preferred that B5 be dropped, but that this
wasn't the case anymore).
Overall, we've lost a few stations, but nothing so substantial that
we can't find ways around it. They've got their stations, we've got ours,
and in most cases they're the same stations. Fair enough.