America's oldest network and Utah's oldest television station are finally getting together.

As expected, KSL-TV and NBC announced a long-term affiliation agreement on Wednesday.The longtime CBS affiliate will switch to the Peacock network sometime next year - probably in the summer.

Details of the contract were not announced, but the agreement is for more than five years. (Reportedly, it's a 10-year pact.)

And KSL executives are pleased with the financial arrangements, which reportedly include a hefty increase in compensation (fees the network pays a local station to carry its programming) from what Channel 5 was receiving from CBS.

While hammering out the contract details has been a complicated process, KSL officials have had nothing but praise for NBC and optimism about their future as an affiliate of that network.

"The negotiations went very well," said Al Henderson, vice president and general manager of KSL. "We've been impressed with NBC. They seem genuinely supportive in terms of promotion and advertising, which wasn't always the case with CBS.

"We're excited. We think this presents us with some great possibilities to improve our position with local programming and production."

"Salt Lake City is a high-growth, high-potential market," said Neil Braun, NBC Network president. "We feel that KSL's strong local programming, when combined with NBC's national news, sports and entertainment, is well suited to take advantage of that growth."

The NBC-KSL marriage was prompted by events involving KUTV. Channel 2 is in the process of being sold to NBC, and once that sale is completed, Channel 2 will be part of a four-city, five-station deal in which NBC will turn KUTV over to a CBS/-Group W partnership.

KSL's switch to NBC and KUTV's switch to CBS will not occur until that deal is completed and CBS/Group W owns KUTV. And wrangling between NBC and Fox, who have gone to the FCC with complaints about each other, could hold things up for a while.

However, the wrangling is expected only to delay completion of the deal, not prevent it.

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"That's the holdup right now," Henderson said. "We really don't know when it (the change to NBC) will happen, but we're looking at sometime next summer."

Some details have yet to be worked out between KSL and NBC - questions of pre-emptions being foremost on the list. One item of contention, "Saturday Night Live," is up in the air.

However, Henderson said KSL has not decided it will not air the sometimes controversial program - but it won't air "SNL" Saturdays at 10:35 p.m., where the station's "SportsBeat Saturday" is a ratings (and financial) success.

The deal with NBC will not affect KSL's news operations, its coverage of BYU sports nor its syndicated programming, including everything from "M.A.S.H." to weekly broadcasts of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Nor will it affect KSL Radio's CBS affiliation and the weekly radio broadcasts of the Tabernacle Choir on the CBS radio network.

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