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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Berezovsky's TV 6 Takes Over Production of News Broadcasts

Boris Berezovsky-controlled TV 6 has pulled the plug on news programs provided by the TSN news production agency and begun to produce its own programs in-house.

In-house-produced news programs are not only cheaper, but easier to control politically.

The switch was made abruptly Monday, causing confusion among TV 6 employees and viewers when the station was without news broadcasts for most of the day. TV 6 began airing its own news programs at 8 p.m.

The channel's news department is led by former RTR star commentator Mikhail Ponomaryov.

TSN had a five-year contract with TV 6 running through 2002 and is owed $3.5 million for past services. TV 6 spokeswoman Olga Gorkina said Tuesday that the debt will be restructured and talks are under way to sort out the confusion.

When Berezovsky bought TV 6 in June, he made clear his prime goal was to boost the channel's news and public affairs programming - turning the little politicized channel into an electoral tool.

Eduard Sagalayev, the founder of TV 6, who sold most of his shares to Berezovsky, said at the time that TSN - a separate entity owned by oil giant LUKoil - which had produced news for TV 6 since 1997, would have to "look for other customers."

Alexander Ponomaryov, general director of TV 6, said that TSN's political position was "unacceptable" for the channel's owners.

TSN president Alexander Gurnov said on Tuesday that Berezovsky preferred pulling the plug to negotiating a transition. "He simply pushed a button and said: Do as we like or get lost."

The contract with TV 6 accounted for 90 percent of the agency's work. It also produces news for minor channels RenTV, Channel 31 and about 20 regional television stations, Gurnov said.

Berezovsky owns a majority stake in TV 6. A 15 percent stake belongs to LUKoil and 10 percent is owned by the city government-backed firm Moscow Committee for Science and Technology.