Fox Versus Cablevision Blackout Continues

By Greg Cergol
|  Thursday, Oct 21, 2010  |  Updated 3:57 PM EDT
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Fox Versus Cablevision Blackout Continues

NBCNewYork

After three days without any programming on Fox 5 or My 9, the Kennedy family of St. James, Long Island, had seen enough.

"It was the last straw with Cablevision," said Tim Kennedy, wearing a Yankee pullover.  "We were worried about missing the World Series."

As Kennedy spoke, a crew from DirectTV was installing a new system at his home -- one that would carry popular Fox shows like Glee, the NFL and the 2010 World Series.

Negotiators from Fox and Cablevision met "briefly" Monday, according to a Fox website;  but, no significant progress was made.

Fox, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, pulled its programming Saturday in a dispute over programming fees. Three million Cablevision customers have been affected.

Each side has blamed the other for the blackout, using TV messages, radio and newspaper ads and Internet postings.

"it's an unfortunate attempt to extort increased fees," said a pre-recorded Cablevision "customer update" broadcast continually on Fox 5 and My9.  "News Corp has acted in bad faith." 

"Cablevision continues to demand preferential treatment and rejects the same fair terms that have been accepted by other providers in the market," countered a statement on the Fox 5 website.

"I hope I don't miss my favorite show, Glee," said Cablevision customer Judy Jones of St. James.  "But I think the big networks are using Cablevision to try and get more money.  I won't switch from Cablevision."

Lawmakers from Suffolk's county executive to New Jersey's governor have urged the two sides to resolve the dispute.

"Binding arbitration is the fastest and fairest way to return Fox programming," said Cablevision VP, Charles Schueler.  Thus far, however, News Corp has refused to accept that arbitration. 

"Figure it out," said Amy Kennedy.  "Everybody else has to.  It should never have come to this."

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