Buckeye Slots in Telemundo

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Buckeye CableSystem of Toledo, Ohio, last week found a permanent replacement for Univision, striking a five-year deal to carry Telemundo.

Last Friday-roughly two weeks after Univision pulled its signal off the 130,000-subscriber system-Buckeye replaced it with Telemundo on its channel lineup. The system had been temporarily carrying Fox Sports World Español in Univision's former slot.

"We are pleased with the quality and variety of the programming on Telemundo, and are happy that we could arrive at a fair and equitable arrangement that will not cause us to increase our customers' bills, while at the same time delivering high-quality Spanish-language programming," Buckeye general manager David Huey said in a statement.

In a license-fee dispute, Univision deactivated its signal Feb. 1, after being carried by Buckeye for 10 years. Univision, which has been free to cable operators, initially sought a 14-cent, per subscriber license fee from Buckeye. It later dropped its demand to 7 cents, but still couldn't reach an agreement with the cable operator.

Buckeye officials declined to say how much in license fees the company would fork over for Telemundo.

"Telemundo is pleased that Buckeye has recognized the broad appeal of its programming and the value we bring to its subscribers," Alan Sokol, CEO of Telemundo Communications Group, said in a prepared statement. "We believe that we offer the best and most varied Spanish-language programming in the U.S., and look forward to continuing our successful initiative to create partnerships with cable operators that present 'win-wins' for all parties."

In Toledo, Univision archrival Telemundo will develop a $30,000 college-scholarship fund for local Hispanic students. Telemundo will also give Buckeye the ability to insert local programming, created in concert with the Hispanic community, onto the network several times a week.

As another good-will gesture, Telemundo will provide an as-yet-undetermined number of tickets to the Feb. 28 World Cup qualifier soccer match between the United States and Mexico, which will be played in Columbus, Ohio. Buckeye will hold a contest to give away those tickets.

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