Blackout

Fox Disappears from Cable Subscribers' Homes

As the clock struck midnight Saturday, Fox stations disappeared from the homes of Cablevision subscribers due to a dispute between the cable company and Fox’s owner, News Corporation. A scheduled episode of “The Simpsons” on WNYW Channel 5 in New York was replaced by a black screen—the same with WOR Channel 9. News Corp. soon issued a release headlined “Cablevision Drops Fox,” accusing the cable company of pulling the channels off the air. Cablevision retaliated by having a voiceover announcer on both stations read a laundry list of complaints against New Corp., accusing the company of “extortion,” “corporate greed,” “holding their viewers hostage,” and more. The two companies have been negotiating for months over retransmission consent, which gives Cablevision the right to carry local Fox stations like WNYW, and the dispute affects some 3 million Cablevision subscribers in the New York metropolitan area. The Federal Communications Commission offered to mediate the dispute, but Fox declined. Now, Cablevision subscribers stand to miss Saturday night’s first game of the MLB’s National League Championship Series, and the Giants NFL game on Sunday.