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Cablevision calls for renewed talks, outside arbitration in ABC dispute

Cablevision and Walt Disney appear to be heading back to the negotiating table, hours before the Academy Awards broadcast begins and is missed by three million subscribers in the New York area.

Cablevision said in a statement that it is willing to restart negotiations with a third-party arbitrator to resolve its dispute with Walt Disney over transmission fees to carry WABC-7, the ABC station serving New York and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut. It urged ABC, meanwhile, to bring back its signal to Cablevision's 3.1 million viewers ahead of one of the year's most popular shows, the Oscars.

"Given the extraordinary public interest in this matter, Senator (John) Kerry and other public officials have suggested that arbitration is appropriate in this highly unusual situation," said Charles Schueler, Cablevision's executive vice president of communications. "Cablevision will agree to binding arbitration and calls upon Disney CEO Bob Iger to immediately return ABC to New YOrk area viewers and join us in binding arbitration to resolve this matter fairly."

He said the cable company has talked to the "highest levels" of the FCC and urged the agency's involvement in the process.

ABC said in a statement that it has separately put forth a counter offer Sunday afternoon to try to resolve the dispute that has drawn angry criticism by viewers, lawmakers and the Federal Communications Commission.

Walt Disney, the parent company of ABC, has not responded to Cablevision's request for binding arbitration.

By Cecilia Kang  |  March 7, 2010; 3:41 PM ET
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"Given the extraordinary public interest in this matter, Senator (John) Kerry and other public officials have suggested that arbitration is appropriate in this highly unusual situation,"

Dear Senator,

Given the current dysfunction of your body, how about you BUTT OUT OF THIS STUPID STUFF and get something useful done.

Posted by: privacy3 | March 7, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Why is John Kerry involved here? Is it because he's the chair of the Communications subcommittee under Commerce, science, & Transport.

Posted by: jdarby21 | March 7, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

yeah, people are going to die if they don't watch the oscars...

Posted by: jlm062002 | March 7, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

ABC is just blackmailing Cablevision and the customers of Cablevision. I say let the advertisers on ABC ask for rebates from ABC on the loss of 3 million potential customers NOT seeing their TV spots and you'll see how fast ABC stops blackmailing Cablevision customers. Besides, outside of Jeopardy, what's worth seeing on ABC?

Posted by: mrsltc1 | March 7, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I read fine literature. I don't need cable TV.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | March 7, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse


put the screws to ABC

offer cable subscribers to pick their own upper tier replacement channel for ABC


Posted by: ProCounsel | March 7, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

ESPN and Fox News

all else is vanity, dust in the wind

a vast wasteland

Posted by: ProCounsel | March 7, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

you know ObamaCare should pay for this also........

Posted by: ProCounsel | March 7, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

now if only cbs and nbc would also strike at Cablevision..............

Posted by: ProCounsel | March 7, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

It's about time that ABC start cutting the inflated salaries of it's staff.

Anchor's like Diane Sawyer making in excess of $12 million per year in salary and bonus is outrageous.

And why is Sam Champion getting paid more than $1 million a year to tell us what the weather will be like, which 50% of the time is different anyway.

Give me a break!

Any surgeon with a 50% success rate would be long gone and pushing unemployment, let alone loose his license to practice.


Posted by: | March 7, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse


Sen. Bunning's middle finger is trained tanned rested and ready

to arbitrate in ABC's direction......

Posted by: ProCounsel | March 7, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

due to this grave national emergency

1. will the academy awards be broadcast live on the web

2.will the national guard be called out to quell the masses who riot

3. during the ancient newspaper era, the new york mayor read the comic strips over the radio when there was w news strike

so where is bloomberg??

and we DEMAND details on the gowns

get to it

Posted by: ProCounsel | March 7, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Cablevision is just lucky this was NOT an NFL playoff game...............

instead just insignificant ABC

Posted by: ProCounsel | March 7, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

tension mounts unbearably

its 7:28pm

the luve bradcast starts at 8:30pm eastern

wash po has an online live blog of the academy awards

will obama personally intervene in this national crisis.........


Posted by: ProCounsel | March 7, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

. . . as if anyone really cares.

Posted by: adjjones | March 7, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: skinfreak | March 7, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: mdpilot | March 7, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure why people are making comments blaming the Oscars blackout on Obama. Have the people who read these things gone completely nuts? We all know it's Palin's fault.

Posted by: dyinglikeflies | March 7, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

its 7:49

why no update from the wash po????

will the national emergency broadcast system be activated??????

Posted by: ProCounsel | March 7, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

And the bad news is?

Posted by: sam51 | March 7, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

disney needs a lesson. don't watch. don't care. they are another company that is guilty of business as usual. they're labor deals, including espn, are awful. fight the mouse, turn them and cablevision off.

Posted by: xxxxxx1 | March 7, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: mdpilot | March 7, 2010 7:45 PM

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' comcast is guilty of worse. their labor relations are handled by real losers.

their network is run by x abc hacks that disney could not tolerate.

see a pattern?

Posted by: xxxxxx1 | March 7, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

I am a Cablevision customer, and pay them about $17 per month for a “Broadcast Basic” package that includes ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and several local channels, mostly in high definition. I have been satisfied with this basic level of service, as I do not watch much television. Perhaps I’m missing something, but I don’t understand why Cablevision thinks that it’s entitled to pocket that entire monthly fee, and pass none of it along to the actual content providers, such as Disney/ABC. It is my understanding that the $200 million annual fee that Cablevision currently pays to Disney covers only cable channels, such as the Disney Channel, ABC Family, ESPN, and ESPN2, to which I do not subscribe. The annual fee does not cover the broadcast channels like WABC/7, which is what I pay Cablevision for as part of my basic service package. I solved my blacked-out channel problem today by simply purchasing a $50 indoor antenna from the local Radio Shack, and then cancelling my service with Cablevision. In just three months, the antenna will have paid for itself. In retrospect, I probably should have done this a long time ago.

Posted by: mister956 | March 7, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Adapt, Improvise, Overcome

desperate frantic americans

unable to watch the academy awards due to the ABC blackout

adopted an inventive solution

millions turned their webcam on an ABC channel outside the blackout zone

and transmitted via Skype to those tragic victims inside the ABC blackout zone

America Fight Back form Academy Award Deprivation

Posted by: ProCounsel | March 7, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

hope dwindles as the minutes pass

8:05 pm eastern

just 25 minutes till broadcast

perhaps we can appreciate the certainty of doom like those on the titanic

any word from those poor victims inside the ABC blackout zone???

Posted by: ProCounsel | March 7, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

nyt says no arbitration

so ProCounsel signing off

ironic--- i could care less about the academy awards and will NOT watch any of the drivel

yet i have abc

and those who really want to watch the academy awards are


Posted by: ProCounsel | March 7, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

one last thought

is this ABC giving its viewers the Sen. Bunning salute???????

Posted by: ProCounsel | March 7, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

ProCounsel: despite saying you don't care, the sheer amount of posts you made on this topic shows that you do. It's kind of sad actually

Posted by: ryangee | March 7, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

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