BREAKING NEWS: Cablevision Pulls Fox Stations in New York and Philly

The two sides have been bickering for the last few weeks and right at midnight Saturday, Cablevision pulled Fox’s owned and operated stations, WNYW and WWOR in New York and WTXF in Philadelphia off its systems. Fox has been locked in rather contentious negotiations not only with Cablevision, but with Time Warner and Dish Network over price and carriage. Fox narrowly averted being pulled off Time Warner Cable systems, but earlier this month, had its regional sports networks and FX taken off Dish Network.

And now in the third of three rather prolonged negotiations, Fox finds itself losing a rather large audience in two of the largest markets in the country.

Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand was following the story Friday night on Twitter and got Fox’s statements regarding Cablevision’s actions. John also received Cablevision’s statements blaming Fox (of course) and we have it here for you.

Cablevision Demands News Corp. Return Fox 5 and My9 to Cablevision Customers and Submit to Binding Arbitration to Reach a Fair Agreement
BETHPAGE, NY, October 16, 2010 – At midnight on October 16, News Corp. pulled the plug on Cablevision customers, blacking out Fox 5 and My9 in more than 3 million NY-area households. Cablevision is calling on News Corp. to immediately put Fox 5 and My9 back on Cablevision and submit to binding arbitration under a neutral third party to reach a fair agreement.
Charles Schueler, Cablevision’s executive vice president of communications, said:

“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.
On Friday, News Corp. even flatly rejected the FCC’s call for independent mediation. More than 100 political leaders called upon Cablevision and News Corp. to keep the channels on while they continued to negotiate, and 36 elected officials called upon Cablevision and News Corp. to submit to binding arbitration, to ensure no disruption of programming for customers. Cablevision agreed, but News Corp. rejected this fair approach.
Cablevision 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.
Cablevision is employing a variety of direct-to-consumer tactics to alert customers to News Corp.’s decision to pull Fox 5 and My9 off its system. Cablevision customers should urge News Corp. to return the channels immediately by calling 877-NO-TV-TAX, visiting, joining its Facebook group “Cablevision Viewers Say: No New Fox Fees” or following on Twitter @No_New_Fox_Fees.

John seems to think with the dispute gets resolved before Sunday’s game between the Detroit Lions and New York Football Giants, but with the rancor between News Corp. and Cablevision, this may last a while.

And of course, there’s Game 1 of the National League Championship Series between San Francisco and the Phillies on Saturday and if this dispute isn’t resolved by then, there are going to be some very angry fans. 

Ken Fang

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013. He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television. Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.