Three million Cablevision subscribers in the New York area awoke to black screens Saturday after News Corp. escalated its dispute with the cable provider.
News Corp. immediately released a statement titled "Cablevision Drops Fox" to explain why viewers of WNYW Channel 5 were missing "The Simpsons" and WOR Channel 9 was not showing "Tyler Perry's House of Payne," The New York Times reported.
Cablevision quickly responded by broadcasting a voiceover listing a host of grievances against News Corp., Fox's owner, including accusations of "extortion," "corporate greed" and "outrageous demands" as well as "holding their own viewers hostage" in the ongoing dispute over retransmission consent, the Times said.
The Federal Communications Commission has been trying to mediate the dispute. Cablevision has said it accepts the FCC offer, but Fox has declined to go to arbitration, noting that the FCC said in a 2007 case it "does not have the authority to require the parties to submit to binding arbitration."
"Cablevision needs to stop hiding behind a call for binding arbitration and negotiate in good faith," Fox said in a statement. "Direct business-to-business negotiation is the only way to resolve this issue, while also preserving the long-term stability of the broadcast system. We will continue to negotiate and are committed to putting all our resources towards reaching a fair resolution."