Cablevision says that only with the intervention of Federal Communicagions Commission chairman Julius Genachowski will it be able to negotiate a retransmission-consent agreement "in good faith" with Fox.
That came in a letter to the chairman Oct. 26 from Cablevision president and CEO James Dolan with the World Series scheduled to start Wednesday, Dolan said that he would be in Genachowski's office tomorrow (Oct. 27) if he would arrange a meeting there with News Corp. COO Chase Carey.
"[O]nly with our assistance in brining the parties together in your office will productive, good faith talks occur," Dolan wrote.
Dolan said he would come prepared with a new offer. In essence, he was asking the chairman to mediate, something Cablevision has been asking the FCC to do since Fox pulled its New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia stations Oct. 16.
He pointed out that the FCC had offered to mediate earlier this month, and urged the chairman to put the parties together in his office to "resolve this matter and bring the World Series to over three million New York, New Jersey and Connecticut homes."
"It's encouraging that Cablevision has a new 'constructive offer' and is prepared to negotiate in 'good faith,' said a senior FCC official. "But they should spend less time writing publicity-seeking letters to the FCC, and more time at the negotiating table reaching an agreement. Consumers deserve no less and the law demands it. That's the only way to get programming back on the air. By now the message from the FCC should be crystal clear: Stop the stunts and start negotiating."
The MSO responded by saying it has been all along.
"Cablevision has and will continue to negotiate in good faith," said Cablevision executive vice president Charles Schueler. "We are trying to reach a deal that is fair for everyone, including our customers, but there has been absolutely no movement by Fox in their attempts to gain massive fee increases from Cablevision customers to carry broadcast signals that are free over the air.
"The FCC is the government agency charged with protecting television consumers and oversight of broadcast licenses," he continued. "We do not understand how protecting and interceding on behalf of TV viewers in 3 million blacked out households in the Northeastern United States does not fall under the FCC's purview. The FCC has the facts and our customers are demanding that the FCC act."