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CBS in talks with Ultimate Fighting

November 8, 2007 | 10:28 am

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CBS has evidently decided that anything goes when it comes to strike programming.

The network is in negotiations with Ultimate Fighting Championship, an organization that sponsors controversial mixed martial-arts bouts, about producing one or more prime-time specials, according to a person close to the talks.

CBS hopes that UFC specials could provide a hedge against the writers strike, which might leave many programming gaps as familiar series run out of fresh episodes.

A CBS spokesman declined to comment.

The network may be courting serious controversy, though, especially on the eve of an election year. UFC, based on the Brazilian sport of vale tudo ("anything goes") fighting, has attracted fierce critics who say the matchups are brutal and dangerous. Sen. John McCain called the sport "human cockfighting," and many states have banned "no-holds-barred" fighting.

The sport has tried to clean up its image in recent years, and bouts have appeared on Spike TV, the Viacom-owned cable network that targets young men. It's unclear what the CBS deal, if consummated, might mean for any future Spike matchups on "The Ultimate Fighter" and "UFC Unleashed."   

More news on the strike

-- Scott Collins

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