KSDK Channel 5, the Gannett-owned NBC affiliate here, will stop producing newscasts for KDNL Channel 30, the ABC affiliate in St. Louis, after Dec. 31.

KSDK began producing newscasts for KDNL in January 2011. Under the deal, KSDK controls decisions on hiring and news content for KDNL's newscasts.

KDNL, which is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, cut its newscasts in October 2001. 

Tom Tipton, KDNL's General Manager, said it's undetermined whether KDNL will offer local news after the end of the year. "We haven't decided," Tipton said. "We won't make a decision anytime soon, probably the third or fourth quarter."

A Gannett spokesman said the decision to end the partnership is unrelated to Gannett's announcement last week that it is acquiring Belo Corp. of Dallas, which owns KMOV Channel 4 in St. Louis.  

Gannett's $2.2 billion purchase of Belo, which includes the assumption of $715 million in debt, would nearly double the media company's television broadcast properties from 23 to 43, making it the fourth-largest owner of major network affiliates behind CBS, Fox and Sinclair Broadcast Group. Gannett plans to sell KMOV to a third party, Jack Sander of Phoenix, to comply with Federal Communications Commission limits on owning multiple stations in a single market. 

Lisa Brown is a business reporter at the Post-Dispatch. Follow her on Twitter @LisaBrownSTL and the Business section @postdispatchbiz.

Lisa Brown is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.