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Fox Channels Go Dark

Cablevision pitches binding arbitration to settle impasse.

Cablevision subscribers hoping to watch the National League Championship Series Saturday night may need to drive to a neighborhood bar to do so.

A dispute over how much the Bethpage cable operator should pay Fox in fees to carry Fox 5 and My9 led to the removal of both networks from Cablevision's television lineup.

Cablevision, which has about 3 million householders as customers, blames Fox for demanding large increases during an economic slump. Further, the cable company said it has agreed to accept binding arbitration using a third-party mediator to settle the dispute.

In a press release issued this morning, Cablevision said Fox parent News Corp.'s "pattern of destructive tactics has become clear." The release then listed other recent Fox fee disputes, including one with Time Warner late last year.

"They are now threatening to pull their broadcast stations away from Dish Network's 14 million customers in two weeks," Cablevision stated.

To be fair, Cablevision has had its share of contractual disputes, including a three-week battle in January that kept HGTV and Food Network off the air.

Also earlier this year, a Cablevision-ABC squabble forced the Disney network dark for a brief period during the Oscars.

A group of elected officials in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have asked for Fox and Cablevision to settle through arbitration, though Fox seemed cool on the idea.

"We remain willing to negotiate and hope that future talks ultimately will be productive, but as of now Cablevision has declined to counter our most recent proposal," said Mike Hopkins, president, Fox Networks Affiliate Sales and Marketing, in a statement. "Regrettably, their efforts were focused more on calls for government intervention than constructive negotiations."

According to Cablevision, it pays News Corp. about $70 million a year for its channels.

The National League Championship Series starts tonight in Philadelphia. Also threatened: Sunday's New York Giants-Detroit Lions game, scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m.

Erica Wells October 21, 2010 at 03:04 PM
I agree with CommackMom, Fox is the most corrupt "news" source out there. I call Fox, The Ministry of Truth (Orwell 1984) because they are the most agenda pushing, intolerant news source available to people on Cablevision. And, their prime-time shows aren't that much better. We all grew up with the Simpsons but for me it is not the biggest loss. I'm glad they are feeling the heat of competition and monopoly, now they know what it feels like to be completely squashed by other corrupt corporate bloodsuckers. Karma? No, just capitalism. I understand that for most people the biggest loss is the availability of their favorite sport events on TV but I'm sure that a viable solution can be made at some point. As for the rest of Fox, I'm glad they are off the air because their news source which most people don't realize is extremely politically biased has been the source of mass confusion and ill-directed leadership on the American public for far too long. They purposefully say certain things and leave certain things out to suit their alignment with the Christian Conservative Right and the less of that there is available the better. This direct manipulation of the public has gone on for far too long and is the furthest thing from what constitutional media sources should be.
Kelly Campbell October 21, 2010 at 08:30 PM
I have to agree with both of you. I don't even watch those channels (if it had been Bravo, that would've been a whole 'nother story) but my husband is a huge Giants fan, so he went to his friend's house who has Verizon and many others, judging from this article, went out to bars. I think it's funny Cablevision portrays Fox as the greedy, manipulative entity and themselves as the champion of the customer, out there fighting for us. It's hilarious. As for the Fox "news"channel, I don't watch it at all. If you read my bio on Patch, you will see I am diehard liberal Democrat. That doesn't affect how I cover local politics, however.
Jen LaVertu October 21, 2010 at 10:10 PM
haha Kelly! A fellow Housewives of ______ (fill in the blank) myself I totally understand needing your brain to fry out to Bravo with all the reality TV we can dish out ourselves in Huntington :)
Kelly Campbell October 22, 2010 at 04:13 PM
So true. Sometimes I just need to veg out and watch completely mindless television.
Sandy Martocchia October 23, 2010 at 05:10 PM
You do notice that the Fox News Channel has not gone dark. If that had gone dark I, for one, would have zero complaints. Quite honetly I like the sarcasm and sly social commentary of Glee and would switch Glenn Beck for Glee any day of the week.

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