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ABC goes dark for New York Cablevision subscribers

Just after the stroke of midnight Sunday, 3 million Cablevision viewers in the New York area lost their ABC channel because of an impasse by the cable operator and broadcaster to resolve a feud over transmission fees.

And unless an agreement is reached during the day between Cablevision and Walt Disney, the parent company of ABC, viewers won't see George Clooney or Sandra Bullock stroll the red carpet at The Oscars. And subscribers will miss out on some of television's most popular shows such as Lost and Good Morning America.

The negotiation breakdown was the latest in a series of similar standoffs between broadcasters and paid television providers. Time Warner Cable and New Corp.'s Fox eventually came to an agreement late last year after a long battle over fees. The Federal Communications Commission has largely stayed on the sidelines of such negotiations. But some lawmakers and consumer groups have urged greater involvement by the agency to prevent viewers from missing out.

"If negotiations break down to the point of intractability, the FCC should step in and faciliate fair arbitration," said Ben Scott, policy director of public interest group Free Press.

Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) said in a statement Sunday morning that he isn't picking sides in the dispute but is frustrated with negotiation breakdowns that trickle down to consumers. Kerry is the chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet. Congress has authority over the FCC, an independent agency.

"When pulling a signal becomes the nuclear option in negotiation, it inflicts collateral damage on consumers who pay their bills and have done nothing wrong," Kerry wrote. Last week, he urged the FCC to help the companies reach an agreement. "Someone needs to be speaking up for them in this dispute and those like them."

The FCC said it has been in contact with both companies and in a statement urged them to come to an agreement. "Consumers should not suffer due to the inability of these two companies to successfully negotiate a deal," said William Lake, media bureau chief, in a statement. But it didn't elaborate on the state of negotiations or to what degree the agency is intervening in talks.

Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) urged the companies to get back to the negotiating table. Cablevision's affected subscribers include customers in New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.

The companies immediately published press releases Sunday morning, blaming each other for failing to reach a deal, with WABC-TV, the New York station, urging Cablevision customers to switch providers. Cablevision subscribers on Twitter expressed their frustration, saying they shouldn't be deprived of ABC shows, including the Oscars on Sunday, because of a multi-million-dollar deal gone awry.

Competitors such as Verizon Communications took advantage of the dispute. The company launched television newspaper and online ads offering Cablevision customers speedy installs to subscribe to its Fios television service along with $75 gift cards, highlighting a fierce war for subscribers in the valuable New York market.

Meanwhile, the parties involved in the dispute said they were continuing to talk. And they continued a nasty war of words about each other's leaders that started last week.

"It is now painfully clear to millions of New York area households that Disney CEO Bob Iger will hold his own ABC viewers hostage in order to extract $40 million in new fees from Cablevision," said Charles Schueler, Cablevision's executive vice president of communications.

At dispute, according to Schueler, is $40 million in retransmission consent fees ABC demanded of Cablevision.

Walt Disney, the parent company of ABC, said Cablevision isn't paying fair rates for ABC content, even as it pockets billions of dollars a year in revenues.

"Now the only way for their subscribers to get ABC-7 is to ditch Cablevision and switch to a provider that cares about them," Rebecca Campbell, president and general manager of WABC-TV, said in a statement.

By Cecilia Kang  |  March 7, 2010; 2:30 PM ET
 | Tags: ABC7, Cablevision, FCC, Federal Communications Commission, Oscars, Walt Disney, cable  
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Next: Cablevision calls for renewed talks, outside arbitration in ABC dispute


This constitutes a breach of contract--and an antitrust action on Cablevision's part. Consumer expect to receive their local television programming as part of their basic cable packages, but are held as captive pawns by their local cable companies. It's time for Congress and the FCC to step in and provide real consumer protection from unchecked corporate avarice and greed.

Posted by: pscohl | March 7, 2010 1:56 AM | Report abuse

I wish that all TV would shut down. Could you imagine how many families would do well if the TV shut right down?

We have all the information that we need, right on the internet, and it is much more reliable.

Personally, I think that TV is awful, these days and the TV news is a sham.

I would say to ABC, "Say Bye Bye Bye!"

Debra J.M. Smith

Posted by: DebraJMSmith | March 7, 2010 2:09 AM | Report abuse

ABC cries, "..Cablevision pocketed almost $8 billion last year.." Well, how much of that was profit and how much went to expenses? And..How much did ABC/Disney pcoket last year? That # wasn't mentioned. If ABC is trying to soak the cable provider'd never know it from this article as they don't delve into the meat in that direction. It seems one-sided and biased to me. Another WAPO hit job designed to help out their liberal frinds at ABC maybe?

Posted by: MDDem1 | March 7, 2010 2:28 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: MDDem1

ABC cries, "..Cablevision pocketed almost $8 billion last year.." Well, how much of that was profit and how much went to expenses? And..How much did ABC/Disney pcoket last year? That # wasn't mentioned. If ABC is trying to soak the cable provider'd never know it from this article as they don't delve into the meat in that direction. It seems one-sided and biased to me. Another WAPO hit job designed to help out their liberal frinds at ABC maybe?

ABC is not liberal by any means. Remember Disney and ABC did the hit job on Bill Clinton in "Pathway to 911" that was written by a right winger. They also air the hit job on John Kerry with the garbage put out by the Shrimp Boat Vets for Lies.
Disney is Conservative owned and operated.

Posted by: billr40229 | March 7, 2010 2:43 AM | Report abuse

The titans of industry battle over cable TV revenues. Meanwhile, over-the-air, the signal now blocked to some three million cable subscribers continues to flow. Just put up some rabbit ears and Bob's Your Uncle. At least, in principle, that's how it should work. The new digital TV transmission system doesn't get around as well as the old analog one did. Still, a broadcaster who puts his signal into the ether for free (and to take advantage of advertising revenues resulting therefrom) should NOT charge cable operators a fee for carriage. A community antenna television system is just some entrepreneur's way of putting an antenna on a ridge and running the signal down into a valley on a cable. CATV is the antecedent to cable television. Same principle applies. But, as the GOP always says "the American people don't want it -- won't have it," referring to government interference in business disputes that inconvenience (or worse) the public. The public should never interfere with the free market. Ayn Rand rules tiny little minds.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | March 7, 2010 2:44 AM | Report abuse

NO big loss! TV is a wasteland these days. The only channel worth watching is PBS.

Posted by: marmac5 | March 7, 2010 2:59 AM | Report abuse

WABC-TV Channel 7 has always had a strong signal - if the cable company remains intransigent, folks can still watch the Oscars with rabbit ears - unless they have an old TV without a digital converter. Then I guess they'll have to make other arrangements.

Posted by: FlaGuy954 | March 7, 2010 3:27 AM | Report abuse

Now I have to go out and buy digital rabbit ears to watch the Oscars when I'm already paying for the cable bill? NO FAIR!!! I guess I'll be missing the Oscars this year, and who knows what else till they work out their little spat...this is not fair to the consumers. The media giants are all greedy buzzards and yet we suffer for their incompetence, their inability to negotiate. Thanks to Cablevision, we had 3 weeks with no HGTV or Food Network in January, let's see how long this spat lasts. I am seriously going to look at Verizon Fios and Direct TV satellite dish THIS WEEK. I'm sick of this lack of consideration to the customer.

Posted by: purrmonsta | March 7, 2010 3:55 AM | Report abuse

The Dolans, James of "let's have a few and then destroy all sports' franchises" and daddy ChouLi, master thief and substance abuse enabler, have once again twisted fact to supplement the insatiability of their greed and incessant need for unbridled, unquestioned power in both the public and marketplace. A pox on them.
They have prospered by monopolistic practices and occasional "good works"(?)[read as well publicized donations to at least one hospital] which keep political and ethical oversight at bay.

Posted by: eugeniopocho50 | March 7, 2010 5:06 AM | Report abuse

Again....the Dolans have been consuming the schlongs of those from lower NY with an unrivalled enthusiasm- they simply love to take, consume, and give virtually nothing back.

Their premature deaths and a corporate takeover would serve the public grandly. May they be indicted for corporate malfeasance by St. Patrick"s Day- JimmyBoy's day of greatest gratification!

Posted by: eugeniopocho50 | March 7, 2010 5:12 AM | Report abuse

ABC off the air. This sounds like a good thing, not a bad thing.

Posted by: mebakeoven | March 7, 2010 5:25 AM | Report abuse

bye bye syfy...

Posted by: DwightCollins | March 7, 2010 5:36 AM | Report abuse

Check Yahoo Finance and you will see that the Cablevision had sales (revenue) of $7.8 billion last year. Profit last year was $285 million and prior year was $228 million loss. Disney revenue last year was $36 billion, profit $3.3 billion. Cablevision's profit was 3.6% of sales; Disney's was 9%, big difference.
It's disingenuous for the ABC manager to only speak of revenue. Many would think "raking in" was windfall profit.

Posted by: art43702 | March 7, 2010 6:10 AM | Report abuse

Why would a cable company pay anything for content? Television stations get money from the advertisements they show three or four minutes out of ten. If they loose viewers, that reduces the rates they can charge for our bathroom breaks. Good riddens.

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Posted by: nikejordans1 | March 7, 2010 6:29 AM | Report abuse

WHAT? Someone acting in a greedy self serving manner oblivious to the interests of its thousands of subscribers why that almost never happens in this country.

Posted by: eddie1247 | March 7, 2010 6:42 AM | Report abuse

abs should be careful

very careful

after a week or so absence

no one may CARE

that abc is GONE

all we need is espn

abc news is the same as cbs and nbc

Posted by: ProCounsel | March 7, 2010 6:43 AM | Report abuse

America is controlled by dinosaurs. The only way to change these money mongers is to support small business. Tough when this has been allowed to happen. Give up the comforts of interrupted programs, get together and boycott. Try to make choices to get choices. Stop shopping at the Wal Marts of the world. We need "change" and that is not going to happen the lazy man's way. It will happen when we the people take charge!

Posted by: wildernesslight | March 7, 2010 6:50 AM | Report abuse

Gone and not missed,,, ABC really offers nothing except and extension of ESPN sometimes.... Let them stay away and cut my fees..

Posted by: robinhood2 | March 7, 2010 6:51 AM | Report abuse

You mean ABC actually has viewers that noticed it was off the air??? Amazing, who would have thunk.

Posted by: kavalair | March 7, 2010 6:52 AM | Report abuse

Folks, you want laws passed, you're demanding action, you want investigations....

just so you can be entertained by the magic box.

People are funny. I enjoy TV myself. But if cable & broadcast went away, there's plenty of other entertainment.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | March 7, 2010 7:01 AM | Report abuse

If Congress gets involved in this I'm moving out of the country.

Posted by: tristesse27 | March 7, 2010 7:08 AM | Report abuse

Everyone is making a profit...except the consumer. Remember when watching television was free? The stations were content with revenues from commercials. Now, the consumer will have to go without if these leeches can't come to an agreement. The government should get involved since the station and the cable company prefer to act like children; the parent needs to step in. The best thing that happened is also the worst television. This is an example of capitalism at its worst.

Posted by: skinfreak | March 7, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Time to go back to the Antenna.
I get my TV the normal way.

IMHO Broadcast Stations should start competing for space over the Cable and Dish.

Start putting DIscovery, History and other prgrams back on Arial Antennas.

FWIW the signal is much clearer..


Posted by: Issa1 | March 7, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse

No Problems at FOX News, ABC is not the best informed Station!

Posted by: akeegan2 | March 7, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Not succumbing to extortion is a great move. Now, will Cablevision reduce their fees from customers?

Posted by: Shanan1 | March 7, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Another example of "Free Market" in action. Fat cats argue over money... consumers lose. Kind of reminiscent of the insurance industry.

Posted by: Still_Independent | March 7, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse


As all of these TV stations and cable companies fight over not getting enough money from each other, the real loser is the person paying monthly cable bills. You're paying for services you don't get, and the cable company probably refuses to reimburse you for the lost service time. Am I right?
You contract with cable services to get certain TV channels, but when they don't provide them, the cable bill payers lose out. You don't get to stop paying your bill when ABC shut down; DO YOU?

CUT THE CABLE!!!! Go back to over-the-air TV reception. You will be much happier.

Posted by: momof20yo | March 7, 2010 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Who cares. It is a vast wasteland.

I didn't watch the winter Olympics and I won't watch the Oscars.

I suppose there are people who do enjoy canned entertainment. Good for them.

I'd rather work on my hobbies, learn something new, spend a few quality hours with friends and family.

Speaking of which, am I the only person who thinks that those "typical families" gathered in front of the TV set never existed anywhere?

Posted by: tchtic | March 7, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Disney vs Dolan? It's hard deciding on whom to root against in this one. You've got the evil empire on one side, and on the other you've got... the evil empire.

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Posted by: weruytojdtiueiytyhty | March 7, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Wow - can't watch the Oscars? No big loss, really...

Posted by: wearedoomed1 | March 7, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

The only reason this is "news" is that The WaPo is also an entertainment machine. What I don't understand is why this is covered in their "Technology" section. Looks like it should be in "Gossip and Other Useless Trivia." And how in the World/Nation/State, is this "National" news? A true waste of electrons...not to mention high frequency electro-magnetic energy. LOL!


Posted by: xairbusdriver | March 7, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

How about a little research and reporting? What does ABC normally get from Cable vision? What do CBS and NBC get from Cablevision? Ask a few questions of the parties involved instead of just rewriting their talking points. No wonder you're losing readership.

Posted by: GregJolysGhost | March 7, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

It's a free market. Let ABC and CableVision sort this out for themselves. And if the viewers don't like the wait, let them look for another transmission alternative (although you may have to deal with an Early Termination Fee).

Posted by: JoStalin | March 7, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

But don't be alarmed! The cable companies will still collect the charges for the service you can't get. Why?

Posted by: jjcrocket2 | March 7, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Why shoud my cable provider pay for free TV! It is not the cable companies fault in all this. Why cant they keep the channel on while negotiating? What will ABC's advertisers think now? I Hope they pull their adds off the New York Market!! I dont watch local TV anymore now anyway so let it stay off indefinitely!!! We can get it free so why should our rates get effected by their greed!!! I am sure a cable company does not make any money on their Broadcast basic tier and they charge to just cover their system costs! Netwrok TV get with the program!!!

Posted by: hockey15 | March 7, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I have over-the-air TV, and it should work for the 3 million New Yorkers who want to watch some stars walk around on a fancy carpet. However, I notice that the industry is also starting a campaign to end all over-the-air TV and give the frequencies to Verizon and other greedy companies. "Free TV" today is considered like welfare.

Posted by: george11 | March 7, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Who cares?

I have access, but won't be watching a bunch of arrogant half ignorant, mostly liberal, slugs who make a living pretending to be someone else.

All you unfortunates who want to see that kind of stuff simply have to tune in to
C-span and watch the #$$&% liberal democrat politicians at work.

Posted by: LarryG62 | March 7, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

If you thought Olympic hockey was good - this Dolans vs.The Mouse House battle could be bruin into something far more riveting and way more relevant than any of the television programming that either organization dispenses. If Disney follows through, which is unlikely, and Cablevision sticks to their 'proliteriate' guns, which is more probable, this should be quite something if not epic. Let's observe the depth of Disney's resolve, once they sit down with their advertisers. Ultimately, it will be a matter of how well Cablevision can manage their disgruntled customers expectations. A reduction in the cost of services would be a powerful antidote, that could send this bout into overtime. Nothing against them, but do you really even need ABC? How fast would the other networks fill the gaps? This is a great reality show, and it's all about keeping costs down - that's the new paradigm.

Posted by: Corboulee | March 7, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

ABC chastises Cablevision for "doing this to their millions of viewers in these 'tough economic times'", yet they (ABC) want more money, and as such, have pulled the plug on these millions of viewers because Cablevision refused to open their purse strings even further. I think it's disgusting that these two HUGE communication giants have such unprofessional people at the throne, who cannot seem to be professional enough to come to some sort of an agreement. It's a load of crap that either company professes to have the viewer's best interests at heart. All they've been doing this past week is slinging mud and trying to get people to take a side. It's a front for the greed over money that snowballs down the mountain to the those very viewers who support both ABC and Cablevision. Once again, the almighty dollar has taken precedence and I see this as nothing more than an attempt by ABC to line their pockets and make them deeper.

I only watched a couple of shows on ABC anyway. It's not huge loss, and if they stay off long enough, we will find and become accustomed to other means of entertainment. For the 2 shows I do watch on ABC,there's always

As for Cablevision, I'll be demanding a reduction in my bill.

Posted by: batmom8 | March 7, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

More of the logical consequences of capitalism - the pursuit of power, money, resources without regard to social consequences. ABC provides a very needed service with respect to news delivery, critical to the democratic process.

Posted by: kirtu | March 7, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

I fail to understand why the commercial broadcasters such as ABC actually
charge cable and satellite companies to rebroadcast their signal. The cable companies give the networks more coverage, therefore making for higher advertising revenue.

The commercial broadcasters paying the cable companies would be better for all of us since the cable companies could reduce their prices due to lower costs.
Isn't cable to the networks like getting a bigger antenna for your roof?

Don't get me wrong. I am not a big fan of cable companies either. What I just stated just seems to be common sense.

Posted by: tjhuot | March 7, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Greedy ABC is getting about $7 Million per commercial minute for the Oscars. Yet they are screwing their CableVision viewers. CableVision is charging lots of money to its viewers. Here is how to hit them in the pocketbook and make your voice heard:
1. Call ABC and tell them that you are going to boycott Disney, ABC and its sponsors.
2. Call ABC's sponsors and tell them that you will not buy any of their products until they STOP advertising on ABC during the blackout.
3. Call Disney and tell them that you are cancelling your vacation at their theme park and will not buy any of its products during the blackout.
4. Call CableBlindness and demand a refund of at least the $18 per month that you pay for local programming during the blackout.
5. Call/write your senators and congressmen as well as the FCC.

Posted by: lesvdavis | March 7, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I almost hate to suggest this but situations like this are going to definitely need FCC intervention. We now have this "wonderful" new digital broadcasting BUT the areas that can actually receive the broadcast signal have been significantly reduced so there are large areas that now aren't technically being served by a broadcast TV station. The FCC hasn't given any indication that they're going to add more independent stations or repeater stations in these areas so cable or satellite are the only way for many people to continue to receive their previous "local" stations.

I know this to be true because I live about a 2 hour drive from D.C. and about 2.5 hours from Baltimore. In the past I got great reception of the old analog signals from D.C. and my reception from the Baltimore stations was certainly passable or better most of the time. Now that we've switched to digital --- NOTHING. Yes, both converters and TVs with digital receivers have been tried but still nothing. Unfortunately we've made a leap forward in terms of technology but at the same time we've made an even bigger leap backward in terms of communication. The FCC has now made it clear that cable and satellite are a necessity for anyone who lives a certain distance outside of a broadcast station's location.

Little games like this CAN'T be allowed to happen. The FCC created this problem now they have to fix it. I really hate the idea of federal government intervention in anything because it's likely to be screwed up but since they created the problem they may be the only one who can correct it. By the way, I find it funny that when I clicked to post this comment the first thing I saw was an ad from Cablevision against Disney/ABC. It's certainly strange to see that in connection with an article about the current problem.

Posted by: SoccerFan1 | March 7, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I won't see the Oscar's anyway. I had over-the-air signal until June then everything went black. I won't pay to watch television.

Posted by: jazzfan19605 | March 7, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Let them all go skrew themselves, Cablevision, TW, ABC. Greedy PsOS.

I remember a time when TV was FREE... I remember watching Yankee games on channel 11 when I lived in NY. Very few were blacked out. Now you have to pay this huge conglomerate, YES, to watch baseball. It sux.

Digital phone? Holy krap - lose your phone and you're out of business. The only interruption we had with Ma Bell was if a tsunami struck.

When my husband suggest we get rid of the digital phone (part of one of TW's "packages"), I ask him, ARE YOU INSANE??? We live in somewhat rural area and if you go to the back of the house, you can lose the signal.

There was schlock on TV years ago, yes - but it was FREE schlock. Now I pay through the nose for it.

I say, bring back the roof antennas and rabbit ears.

Posted by: itsagreatday1 | March 7, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I wouldn't shed a tear if both of them went out of business.

Posted by: RK11 | March 7, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I think you can tune ABC without cable with a paperclip, a coat hanger, and tin foil

Posted by: critter1 | March 7, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Boy, there's a loss. (NOT)

Majority of television has gone to the bottom of the trash heap anyway, catering to viewers with average IQs of about 80, who somehow can tolerate watching commercial after commercial ad nauseum with 10 minutes of actual dead brainer show thrown in. It's pathetic.

Posted by: kat2show | March 7, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

i have not turned my television on in months, and frankly I have not missed it one iota. It's truly an electronic wasteland of nothing but mindless reality shows and political screamfests. I really don't care about the Oscars, Emmys, Tonys, Golden Globe, Grammys or Miss whatever contests. American Idol? Give me break. The first few years it may have been interesting, but it's like the 14th season of E.R. Like haven't I seen that plot line before? Frankly the entire TV and cable industry can go dark and I would not even notice.

Posted by: dlpetersdc | March 7, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I agree with itsagreatday1 bring back the roof antennas and rabbit ears. It seems crazy to pay to see the same advertising (actually more ads now) that came to us for free in the past. At least the broadcast stations, cable companies and satellite companies could reduce the number of ads we're subjected to since we're now paying a fee. Deregulation of the broadcast industry only resulted in more money for big business and less quality/more advertising for consumers.

Posted by: SoccerFan1 | March 7, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I live in the area. They did they same thing with HGTV and Food Network in Jan. I just want my bills to go down if I have less channels to "choose from".

Posted by: snh122 | March 7, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I haven't watched the Academy Awards in about 30 years. It's just a movie industry orgy of self congratulation. And way, way too long anyway. Who needs it?

Posted by: brewstercounty | March 7, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Disney is not the "bad guy" here. The "bad guy" is the American public who is so addicted to TV, that they allow themselves to be played like fiddles by the cable TV companies. TURN OFF YOUR TV AND BOYCOTT THE CABLE TV COMPANIES FOR ONE MONTH. The advertisers would scream bloody murder and the Disneys of the world would get the message...

Posted by: demtse | March 7, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I am old enough to remember when we were told that, once pay tv arrived, television would be commercial-free. NOT!
Absent from this discussion is the recognition that an over-the-air tv channel is a scarce public resource and that those who receive these licenses to print money should act as if they are a public trust.
It is reprehensible for a corporation to demand to be paid for what they provide over the air for free. Next they will want buildings with master antennas on their roofs to pay them for "redistributing" their signal.
I think that the last time the law on this was changed was during the Bush 41 Administration. I feel that the law should be changed again so that any local channel which requires payment from a cable company should lose its over-the-air license. New licenses should be distributed with the understanding that cable customers will receive those channels free so long as they are broadcasted over the air.
People should also know that, when a cable company redistributes over-the-air content from a local over-the-air channel, it is free to replace the commercials with its own commercials from which it earns revenue. If and when the law is changed to prohibit the kind of holdup which ABC is executing on Cablevision, cable companies should be prohibited from replacing commercials which are included in the broadcast stream.

Posted by: jrsposter | March 7, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Who needs ABC anyway?
The argument between Cable and provider should be left to the consumer.
The government should stay out of the way lest we all have to pay more for less.
The worst thing that can happen is for the now famous statement to come to pass. . . "I'm from the Government and here to help"

Posted by: kpyachtsman | March 7, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

ABC has popular programs? Very few and those constantly in rerun scheduling.
None of the big three, ABC, NBC, or CBS would really be truly missed.

Posted by: garys_opinion | March 7, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Great comment from jrsposter. I couldn't agree more. Now it's time for Congress and the FCC to get started on that legislation --- immediately.

Posted by: SoccerFan1 | March 7, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

What a great reminder that we are NOT THE CUSTOMER in this case. We are the CONSUMERS who have no say in what goes on here.

It's a lot like our government, don't you think? Wealthy, disconnected, arguing with each other about how to split up the money and/or the power.

I'd like to echo what many have already said here: Let it go away. Who will really miss it? WHO CARES WHAT THOSE SELF-CENTERED THIEVES ARE DOING, ANYWAY?

Posted by: bradeleven | March 7, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

No one watches liberal network like ABC, CBS, or NBC. We all watch Fox, A & E, History Channel, and other quality cable offerings.

If we want propaganda, we can just listen to Obama reading from this teleprompter.

Posted by: Jerzy | March 7, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

LMAO--what a great opportunity for people to trash everything from those who watch TV to the (so called)liberals walking on the red carpet. People have choices, some choose to watch TV and some don't. Stop being so condescending b/c you have more interest in your hobbies or whatever than television and BTW since you don't watch TV why do you care? Seems you are just looking for the chance to put someone down who is different that you. This is about people who have paid for a service and now they aren't getting it. I bet if someone denied you something you have an interest in and have paid for your opinion would be a little different.

Posted by: eaglechik | March 7, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

It's unfortunate that Cablevision (the most successful robber barons of Long Island)hasn't been put into check yet. However, there is now FiOS; once the local townships allow their franchise (aka payoff). I have FiOS cables behind my house (and have for almost 2 years) but cannot get their TV service because my local town won't grant them a franchise for TV. Once they do: I will leave Cablevision behind me like a dirty diaper on a roadtrip!

Posted by: USAdemocrat | March 7, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

The Oscars are not that important. It's nothing but a bunch of rich spoiled celebrities all dressed up thinking they are better than the average U.S. citizen in America. In light of the bad economy and U.S. citizens are losing their jobs, homes, and don't have food on their tables, why even show a bunch of rich people acting like Greek Gods on ABC?

Posted by: KappaNupe | March 7, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I don't think I'd consider "Fox" among the quality cable offerings if you're exclusively referring to their news channel. TV news in general has become more about flash & partisan politics and less about information & unbiased journalism. Now, if you're talking about Fox Soccer Channel, FX, or one of Fox's regional sports channels that's a different story --- lots of quality there. I agree that A&E and History Channel also have a lot to offer.

That brings up a bigger point, however. I believe all the broadcast networks now own "cable stations." Is this disagreement between Disney/ABC and Cablevision limited to just the broadcast station in New York or are the Disney/ABC cable stations also involved? If they are, then viewers also can't watch ESPN, Disney Channel, ABC Family, etc.

I agree with jrsposter that over-the-air broadcast stations shouldn't be allowed to charge for rebroadcasting their signal but cable and satellite companies shouldn't be allowed to replace their commercials either. It seems like a fair compromise. Of course, cable and satellite companies should be required to carry those broadcast stations especially now since digital broadcasting has significantly reduced the reach of broadcast signals.

Posted by: SoccerFan1 | March 7, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I had assumed, apparently erroneously,
That broadcasters would be happy to have their programming delivered static-free
Via cable to folks without appropriate antennae
To receive clear images on the family TV.

Posted by: Gonzage1 | March 7, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

The only way we can have TV where I live is cable, satellite, or Verizon (yeck). Our cable TV prices keep rising with no improvement in the programming. The cable company even has two programs they show on two different channels. Programs that we've seen over and over, old films over and over, Andy Griffith shows over and over. We pay through the nose and even the new programs stink. Isn't cable supposed to be regulated? Seems I pay a tax on my cable bill for regulatory fees. Next rise in price...I'm done watch junk TV. I'll watch shows on the internet.

Posted by: clairevb | March 7, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

It is quite sad to see the customers of Cablevision caught in the middle of this dispute. Not only are they Cablevision customers, but ABC customers. Both sides have not handled this situation well, I admit. I do think that more could have been done on both sides, from what I gathered... but I can't help but sway towards the side of the smaller cable company. ABC is a tycoon. They profit far more than Cablevision. I'm not saying Cablevision doesn't profit, but I do think that if ABC greatly valued those many customers, they would have granted Cablevision customers some leniency. ABC obviously has the upper hand in this fight.

My only advise for the customers would be to dish it out for the old rabbit ears or watch your programming online for now. Sad sad sad.

Posted by: kasdeya | March 7, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

You know every since Bloomberg took his money and re-wrote the political agenda in New York....

"New Yorkers Has Been Having Bad Luck"








Posted by: dove369 | March 7, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Who cares? The only shows that are worth watching on TV are Lost, 24, HBO and Starz. All of which are either watchable on the internet or are not affected by the ABCs decision.

Posted by: litechocolate | March 7, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Nothing much worth watching on TV since the Screen Writers Guild strike. I only watch to feed my depression.

Posted by: billwald | March 7, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

we need the feds involved in this because I need to see Joan Rivers on the red carpet or whoever it will be......OMG what are we all going to do to handle the effects of withdrawal............I CAN'T HANDLE IT! HELP ME!

Posted by: jnorow | March 7, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Why is this a problem? ABC has a product. Cablevision does not want to pay for it. I cannot enter WalMart and take something after refusing to pay for it. Why should Cablevision? ABC is on the airwaves and free to everyone with a TV. Turn off the cable box and change the channel!

Posted by: BarisaxMan | March 7, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse



Posted by: dove369 | March 7, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

ABC’s local news programming here in New York is joke (along with all the other local news shows). Its national news program pales in comparison to PBS, the BBC or CNN. In fact it usually mirrors, story for story, the news shown on CBS and NBC. And ABC’s constant stream of low budget reality shows makes me want to vomit. Until ABC’s attempt to blackmail Cablevision, I did not realize how little I cared for any of the network or local broadcast stations. Faced with the option of higher cable fees or the loss of ABC, I’d prefer if Cablevision would tell ABC to take a long hike off a short pier.

Posted by: codexjust1 | March 7, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse


Perhaps folks will hoist up an antenna, and see all the HD programming they can get for FREE, and ditch cable for good.

I'm ready for a huge shift in the business of cable... I want ALL the channels, including HBO and Showtime, but I only want to pay for the minutes and shows that I actually WATCH!!!

You know... like going to the grocery store... or shopping for clothes.... or electricity... the gas you put in your car... paying for a plumber only when your drain is get the idea.

I'll only become a cable customer again when this happens.

Trust me.... businesses that discard the "subscription" model of income are the ones who will succeed, and those hog tied to it will fail.

Posted by: jltnol | March 7, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

GET ABC NOW or any public access station free.The same thing happened here in Washington with dish network and ABC it went on for months. We went to Fred Meyer and bought a HDTV rabbit ears antenna, 12.99. And left our cable hooked up also. We just followed the instructions on or inbox. We were able to get ABC, perfectly and I must add CBS, NBC. The plus is even though our cable company now has a contract with ABC, we still keep this attached and can record on the cable DVR, without it affecting a thing. We can record 3 things at one time not just 2. You will be surprised. We are almost considering just using the antenna as when our cable went out due to weather, it picked up ABC,NBC, CBS,Fox,any thing 1-22 on your set. Its a federal law to get public access, but FCC is not acting on this because we are still provided CBS, NBC,etc. WE the public will be the payee when the contract is settle and ABC has won. I personally don't need the premium channels, these are the only ones that a cable or dish are needed for. And if you stay connected you'll discover all networks will soon be negotiating and going black to make their points. We are held hostage to a monopoly of 3, cablevision, dish network, and directtv. The consumer always gets the bill in the end.

Posted by: crazydaze1 | March 7, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

The problem is that the models for selling cable are skewed to the providers of content instead of consumers.
It should be quite possible and profitable for someone to switch to a pay per channel system where you decide which channels to add, and are charged per channel.
Then no one would pay for over the air broadcasts, when they would be free with an antenna.

Posted by: ripper368 | March 7, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

on many cable systems

fox news is a premium channel--you have to PAY extra to get it

cnn, abc, cbs and abc are FREE as no one would pay for them

abc--not worth the price--even at FREE

Posted by: ProCounsel | March 7, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Only leftists watch the Oscars anyway. I can see them here in Florida but I haven't watched this leftist love fest in years. Except for a very few almost everyone in the movie industry is a carbon copy of Streisand, Sarandon, Clooney, and I could go on ad infinitum.

As a matter of fact I avoid all newscasts and almost all programming on ABC, NBC and CBS except for local news because they disgust me with their leftist propaganda.

If Hollywood stars and moguls were political years ago they kept it mostly to themselves.

Posted by: rmilitello | March 7, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse


to REALLY put the screws to ABC

give your subscribers the choice of another tier channel to REPLACE ABC for GOOD



UNLESS you have mandatory linkage with ESPN that is a tv lifeline


Posted by: ProCounsel | March 7, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

ESPN and Fox News

all else is vanity

a vast wasteland

Posted by: ProCounsel | March 7, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

hmmmnnnn......ProCounsel wonders

do ABC's advertisers

get a REFUND of ad rates

since ABC is not in the large market???

Posted by: ProCounsel | March 7, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

it would be even better if cbs and

especially couric

went on say

a 20 year cable strike

Posted by: ProCounsel | March 7, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"Cablevision viewers lose ABC"

One biased socialist propaganda source down, 5 to go.

As long as they continue to receive FOX NEWS, the "most trusted news network" (according to the PPP survey of Jan 2010), they will get the TRUTH.

Posted by: TeaPartyPatriot | March 7, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

We all watch Fox, A & E, History Channel, and other quality cable offerings.
We do. Nobody I know watches FOX - slant news. Now A&E, History and Discovery is another matter. I'm surprised that you watched these channels, and confess to watching FOX - guess everyone can be bi-polar.

Posted by: begal125 | March 7, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

"It is now painfully clear to millions of New York area households that Disney CEO Bob Iger will hold his own ABC viewers hostage


Where is the competetion to give AMERICANS choice?

Anyone care to ask that?

OLIGOPOLY? Think New Yorkers will get what that means now?

Health Insurance is an OLIGOPOLY!

You think missing the OSCARS will make them think about COMPETETION in CABLE?


1995-2007 12 years!

In the House, Pickering specialized in telecommunications issues, including one dear to Cellular South: making sure Congress took into account the interests of cellular companies serving rural areas.

Governor Sanford of SC emailed his mistress stating internet connection is unreliable at his farm.


Wonder why we can’t compete globally.

Posted by: sasha2008 | March 7, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Lordy lordy, what is we gonna do? All is lost!

Posted by: Tupac_Goldstein | March 7, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Get rid of cable, and save some money. Try reading a book or hang out with your family instead....

Posted by: WildBill1 | March 7, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Yet another reason for the FCC to institute the "Ala Carte" system. If you want a channel, pay for it. If you don't, don't. But that has as much chance of happening as Flat Tax.

Posted by: zenshadow | March 7, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Get a HDTV antenna anywhere and see what you can do.Then draw your own conclusions, with the knowledge that if you suscribe to any cable or dish system you stand the risk of this happening again and again for each network,until they reach an agreement,and you paying for it in services in the end.We forced them to adjust their bill for the months it happened to us.Then purchased a simple rabbit ears,this enabled us to get 99% of the stations we watched anyway for the cost of the antenna for hdtv 12.99.It worked as well as cabe, dish or directtv

Posted by: crazydaze1 | March 7, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Stop watching TV.
Television makes you just like everybody else. Take a look at your neighbor, do you want to be like him? No?
Then turn off the TV.
You'll begin to think for yourself instead of being told what to think,
You'll be start to participate in your own life instead of being a spectator in somebody elses.
You're wife will love you more,
You're kids will respect you,
You'll be better looking
You'll live longer
Even your dog will appreciate it
Shut off the goober box, it's turning you people into fat, listless, empty headed idiots.

Posted by: dijetlo | March 7, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

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