Conn. Cablevision Customers Could Lose Access to CBS Station

WFSB Says Retrans Deal Expires on Dec. 31

Connecticut customers of Cablevision Systems could lose access to CBS programming from Hartford station WFSB if the two don’t reach a retransmission consent agreement by Dec. 31, the broadcaster said in a statement.

WFSB, owned by broadcast and publishing group Meredith Corp., said on its website that its deal with Cablevision expires at midnight on Dec. 31 and has been in negotiations with the cable operator.

Whether or not a deal is reached, the vast majority of Cablevision customers in the area still would have access to CBS programming from WCBS Channel 2 in New York.

“We are disappointed in the outcome of our negotiations, especially since we have successfully reached agreements with every major cable and satellite company that recognizes our fair market value,” WFSB said in a statement.  The station claims it is only asking Cablevision for “pennies a day,” and that without fair and equitable treatment, it would not be able to provide top quality programming to viewers.

If the station goes dark, WFSB claims that Cablevision customers would lose access to the National Football League AFC Playoffs and other NFL games, as well as prime time CBS programming like Big Bang Theory, Two And A Half Men, and CSI Miami.
“We will continue to negotiate with Cablevision,” WFSB continued. “Unfortunately, we do not know if, or when, we will reach an agreement. In the meantime, we hope you will continue supporting local television and watch us through alternative means.”

In a statement, Cablevision said, “The overwhelming majority of our Connecticut customers will continue to have access to CBS programming on WCBS Channel 2.  Cablevision has already agreed to pay for carriage of WFSB Channel 3 in Litchfield and New Haven Counties but now the WFSB owners are threatening to pull the plug on CBS programming in these areas unless customers in Fairfield County pay for two CBS affiliates.  It is unfair to hold customers in parts of Litchfield and New Haven Counties hostage in order to force Fairfield County customers to pay twice for essentially the same CBS programming. We call on WFSB to keep the channel on while we negotiate an agreement that is fair to our Connecticut customers.”