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Fox off Cablevision in NY area over carriage dispute

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Here we go again. After failing to close a new carriage deal, Cablevision at midnight ET dropped the Fox network from its system in the New York area that serves more than 3 million homes. Viewers through Connecticut, parts of New Jersey, the New York area and a small part of Philadelphia area will miss today’s start of Major League Baseball’s National League Championship Series and the New York Giants/Detroit Lions game on Sunday if Cablevision stands firm and continues to blackout Fox programming on Fox5, My9 and Fox29.  The World Series also begins on Fox Oct. 27.

Charles Schueler, Cablevision’s executive vice president of communications, released this statement late Friday: “News Corp.’s decision to remove Fox programming from three million Cablevision households is a black eye for broadcast television in America. News Corp has refused to negotiate in good faith and rejected calls from dozens of political leaders to not pull the plug and join Cablevision in binding arbitration. We demand that News Corp. put the viewers ahead of its own greed and immediately restore these channels to our customers and agree to binding arbitration to reach a fair agreement. What is News Corp. afraid of?

“News Corp.’s pattern of destructive tactics has become clear.  First, they terrorized Time Warner Cable customers for weeks; then they pulled regional sports and cable channels off Dish Network; and now they have pulled the plug on Fox 5 and My9 for 3 million Cablevision households.  Further, they are now threatening to pull their broadcast stations away from Dish Network’s 14 million customers in two weeks.  It is clear that News Corp. will pull the plug on any viewer, served by any cable, satellite or phone company, to get the money they want.”

Cablevision claims that it already pays News Corp. more than $70 million a year for its channels, and News Corp. is demanding more than $150 million a year for the same exact programming. Cablevision has reached agreements with every other major broadcast station in the market – NBC, ABC, CBS and Univision – and offered News Corp. as much or more for Fox 5 as it pays any of those stations.  But News Corp. is continuing to demand more for Fox 5 than Cablevision pays all of the other broadcast stations combined.

Yankees won the first game of American League playoffs.

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