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CNN and ABC News have been to the altar before, but this time, they might really get hitched. The parents want it to happen. The big question is crunching the numbers -- and that is complicated.

Although the parties have backed away from the bargaining table in recent weeks, according to executives, the merger of the two news divisions -- as a joint-venture company majority-controlled by CNN, but with shared editorial control -- has always appeared to make economic sense.


AOL Time Warner and Walt Disney think their news operations at CNN and ABC, respectively, would be a good fit, but the details are complex.

Now, the chief executives of the two parent companies are pushing. AOL Time Warner Inc.'s Richard Parsons recently brought new momentum to the talks; Walt Disney Co.'s Michael Eisner made a point of praising CNN founder Ted Turner at a recent conference. Both men need dramatic gestures to please grumpy shareholders, and though these news operations are small in relative corporate terms, they are extremely high profile.

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