Mediator hired for Tribune bankruptcy talks

Company also forms committee to oversee process

Tribune's drawn-out bankruptcy proceedings will get an assist from a court-appointed mediator, the company said Wednesday.

The TV station and newspaper company that was bought by Sam Zell in 2007 and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection the next year also said Wednesday it has formed a special committee to oversee the process.

That committee consists of board members Jeffrey Berg, CEO of ICM; Mark Shapiro, former CEO of Six Flags; Maggie Wilderotter, CEO of Frontier Communications; and Frank Wood, head of venture-capital firm Secret Communications.

The mediator is Kevin Gross, a U.S. bankruptcy judge for the District of Delaware in Wilmington, Delaware.

"We're pleased that the court has appointed a mediator -- this is a clear sign that reaching consensus is a valuable part of this process," said Tribune CEO Randy Michaels.

The news comes as rumors that Michael Eisner, the former Disney CEO, is in talks to become Tribune's chairman of the board, a spot currently held by Zell, according to the company's website.

The New York Post reported that the decision to bring in a mediator would make it tougher for Zell to get the immunity he has sought from legal claims arising from the Tribune buyout.