CNN, ABC News End Talks

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AOL Time Warner Inc. 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 CNN and ABC 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 said in a brief statement last Thursday.

The day before, 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 it to share costs with ABC, which would have benefited from CNN's broad international resources.

Interest on CNN's side in the merger seemed to die down by last month, when chairman Walter Isaacson said he would resign in May.

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

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