Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) has told Fox that if it does not find a way to keep its broadcast signals on the air after the Dec. 31 expiration of its contract with Time Warner, he wants the FCC to step in and mandate that interim carriage.
That came late Wednesday in response to News Corp. president Chase Carey's letter to Kerry explaining that Fox was not interested in arbitration of the retrans dispute, which Kerry had proposed and Time Warner agreed to.
"This letter is a rejection of arbitration as a solution, but it is silent on alternative mechanisms for keeping the signal on the air post contract expiration," said Kerry in his statement. "That is my primary goal. If FOX can find an alternative way to achieve that end or reach agreement with TWC before the contract expires, then there is no need for us to act."
Kerry is concerned about the cable viewers who could wake up without the TV stations that will be carrying big-ticket college bowl games the first week of January.
"If Fox believes that withdrawing programming from 4 million households is its best negotiating tactic," he said, "then I would ask the FCC to intervene and mandate continued carriage and arbitration..."