America Channel Fighting Adelphia Merger

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The America Channel, a cable network yet to launch after three years of struggle, is asking the Federal Communications Commission to block the takeover of Adelphia Communications Corp. by Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Inc., saying that the deal would hurt independent networks seeking cable carriage.

“Comcast and Time Warner have tremendous incentive to not launch independent channels, and this transaction, if consummated, will only increase their power to abuse the unreasonable gate-keeping authority they already wield,” TAC CEO Doron Gorshein said in a June 6 letter to the FCC.

The $17.6 billion merger requires FCC and Federal Trade Commission approval. Public comments are due at the FCC July 6.

Based in Heathrow, Fla., TAC has been trying to launch as a digital service with a slate of programs focusing on the lifestyles, habits and hobbies of “real” Americans.

In the FCC letter, Gorshein implied that TAC’s inability to get started stemmed from unsuccessful negotiations with Comcast and Time Warner.

TAC has previously taken regulatory positions not shared by cable's key players. For example, when the FCC considered the a la carte sale of cable networks last year, TAC urged the agency to endorse the creation of tiers of programs that would be free to consumers if the networks did not seek license fees from cable distributors.

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