3m New Yorkers might miss Oscars
Written by Chris Forrester
Sunday, 07 March 2010 11:03

Cablevision subscribers in New York lost their Channel 7 ABC signal on Saturday night. It looks like they’ll also lose tonight’s Oscar telecast.

Once again Cablevision has orchestrated the removal of a channel as they did with HGTV and the Food Network. Cablevision’s ABC viewers were in the middle of a ‘Lost’ repeat. In the confusion Cablevision also took down NBC and CBS for a few minutes. The argument, as ever, is about money.

Cablevision told its subscribers to instead tune into ABC via their broadband feeds of Hulu. Cablevision, in a statement, said "Cablevision pays ABC's parent company [Disney] over $200 million per year. The price you pay for TV matters. ABC is demanding $40 million more per year. We wanted to keep WABC-7 on the air. Pulling WABC off Cablevision was wrong. And we're not the only ones to think so. We are working hard to get WABC back on the air. ABC has rejected our offers. We have agreements with CBS, NBC, Fox and Univision. We apologize for their actions. Call 1-877-NO-TV-TAX. Watch WABC-7 free over the air with a digital antenna. View ABC programming at Hulu.com or ABC.com. Thank You."

ABC’s President and General Manager Rebecca Campbell said the move followed "two years of negotiations, during which we worked diligently, up to the final moments, to reach an agreement. Cablevision pocketed almost $8 billion last year, and now customers aren't getting what they pay for…again," she said. "It's time for Jim Dolan and the Dolan Family Dynasty to finally step up, be fair, and do what's right for our viewers."

Missing a re-run of Lost is one thing, but later tonight (Sunday) ABC has the rights to this year’s Oscar telecast, and the thought of half of New York (some 3m homes) missing the Oscar awards show has prompted most observers to say that Cablevision will blink, and restore the feed.