Comcast asks court to throw out suit filed by Boston's jilted NBC affiliate WHDH-TV

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) has asked a federal court to throw out a suit filed against its NBCUniversal unit by jilted NBC affiliate WHDH-TV (aka "Channel 7").

The conglomerate said the Sunbeam station signed a contract with NBCU that expires in January of next year and should live by the terms of the deal. 

"A finite contractual affiliation is exactly what WHDH agreed to and now, in fairness, must live by," Comcast told the court, according to papers obtained by the Boston Business Journal

In January, NBCU announced plans to end its 22-year-old affiliation agreement with WHDH and launch a new owned-and-operated station, leveraging local assets New England Cable News (NECN) and Telemundo units. 

Sunbeam claims NBCU misrepresented its intentions and led it to believe it was going to negotiate to renew its contract.

In its request for dismissal of the suit, Comcast concedes it began renovating its NECN facilities back in 2014, but that doesn't prove it was concealing plans to create a new O&O.

Channel 7 filed its suit in a Boston federal court in early March. It accuses Comcast of breach of contract and for violating antitrust laws. It also seeks to stop Comcast from breaking up with WHDH, as well as unspecified damages. 

"Channel 7's claims are based upon Comcast's January announcement that it intends to terminate its 22-year relationship with WHDH as NBC's Boston affiliate at the end of 2016 and make its cable station New England Cable News the home of its new Boston station," WHDH said in a statement. "At the same time Comcast announced that it would broadcast its new station over the air from WNEU-TV, a Telemundo station located in Merrimack, New Hampshire."

For more:
- read this Boston Business Journal story

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