AOL Drops CNN-ABC News Talks


AOL Time Warner Inc. said Thursday night that it has dropped the idea of
merging Cable News Network with ABC News.

"After careful review, it was determined that although there are great merits
and possibilities to a merger of ABC and CNN news, for us, the potential
problems associated with the completion of such a transaction and the
integration of these two distinct and great cultures was more than we want to
pursue at this time," the company wrote in a brief statement.

The AOL announcement came the day after 21-year ABC News veteran Paul
Friedman abruptly resigned as executive vice president.

ABC News referred questions about the CNN talks to The Walt Disney Co.
spokeswoman Zenia Mucha, who didn't return a call Thursday night.

A CNN-ABC News merger would've boosted CNN's talent roster and allowed the
network to share costs with ABC, which would have benefited from CNN's broad
international resources.

Interest on CNN's side in the merger had seemed to die down by last month,
when the company announced that chairman Walter Isaacson would resign in

Turner Broadcasting System Inc. CEO Jamie Kellner said Jan. 13 that talks
with ABC had broken off and the company didn't expect to engage ABC executives
for more talks "for probably six weeks."