Scott D. Pierce: KUTV’s owners pay ABC 4’s owners $60 million to settle lawsuit

(Image courtesy of Nexstar) The Nexstar Media Group, which owns both KTVX-Channel 4 and KUCW-Channel 30 in Utah, received $60 million and a TV station to settle a lawsuit against Sinclair Broadcasting.

The owners of Channel 2 paid the owners of Channel 4 $60 million and will transfer a TV station to them to settle a lawsuit filed by the former owners of Channel 13. Really.

You may recall that in 2017, the Sinclair Broadcast group (which owns KUTV and KJZZ and operates KMYU) announced it would buy Tribune Media (which, at the time, owned KSTU/FOX 13) for $3.9 billion. The deal was considered a sure thing for right-wing, Donald Trump-loving Sinclair, what with Trump in the White House and a Trump-appointed chairman leading the Federal Communications Commission. But it fell apart because of what the FCC called Sinclair’s “misrepresentation and/or lack of candor.”

Sinclair sought to ignore and/or skirt FCC ownership regulations. It wanted to exceed the national ownership cap; keep stations in cities where that would violate dual-ownership regulations; and sell other stations at far below their value to companies controlled by Sinclair chief David Smith — including one owned by the estate of Smith’s mother. Really.

[Read more: Scott D. Pierce: Big, bad Boris is gone, but the specter of Sinclair still hangs over KUTV-Channel 2]

Tribune Media (which is not in any way affiliated with The Salt Lake Tribune) sued Sinclair for $1 billion for screwing up their deal. Sinclair countersued.

In the meantime, Nexstar Media Group (which owns KTVX-Ch. 4 and KUCW-Ch. 30) bought Tribune Media for $4.1 billion. It sold a bunch of stations to meet FCC ownership regulations — including Utah’s FOX 13, which went to the E.W. Scripps Co.

As the new owner of Tribune Media, Nexstar inherited the billion-dollar lawsuit against Sinclair, which was settled with the $60 million payout and an agreement by Sinclair to “transfer control” of WDKY-TV in Lexington, Ky., pending FCC approval.

Neither company admitted any liability or wrongdoing. I’m neither a lawyer nor a media mogul, but I’d rather have $60 million and a TV station now than the years of litigation it would likely take to get to a ruling that the other side was liable and wrong.

FROM SUNDANCE TO NETFLIX — ALREADY • “Miss Americana,” the documentary about pop music queen Taylor Swift, starts streaming Friday on Netflix — eight days after it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City.

POST-SUPER BOWL SLOT • Fox won’t be launching a new show after its telecast of the Super Bowl on Sunday. Instead, it will begin the third season of the inexplicably popular “The Masked Singer.”

I’ve seen the ratings. I know it’s popular. But I find it unbelievably tedious.

If you’re among those who love “The Masked Singer,” it will begin airing about 8:30-ish on Ch. 13 — depending on how long the game and the post-game coverage run.

PERFECT HARMONY” • The ratings for the NBC sitcom “Perfect Harmony” weren’t good. So the chances of a second season are iffy.

Which is too bad, because this musical sitcom about a bitter, arrogant music professor (Bradley Whitford) fired by Princeton who takes over the choir at a small, rural Kentucky church is funny and charming. And it’s got great, sometimes weird music — including an amazing mashup of “Ave Maria” and the Cher hit “Believe.”

All 13 episodes are streaming on Hulu and (for free) on NBC.com. If you’re looking for something fun to binge, look there.