×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Tribune stations go dark on Cablevision

Retrans fight leads to blackout of WPIX New York, other outlets

Just as one retrans battle came to a peaceful conclusion, another flared up as Tribune Broadcasting’s WPIX-TV New York and several other stations went dark on Cablevision’s lineup just after midnight Thursday.

Cablevision issued a pointed statement accusing Tribune of demanding high retransmission consent fees for its stations because its parent company is still working its way out of bankruptcy.

“The bankrupt Tribune Company and the hedge funds and banks that own it, including Oaktree Capital Management, Angelo Gordon & Co. and others are trying to solve Tribune’s financial problems on the backs of Cablevision customers,” Cablevision said. “Tribune and their hedge fund owners are demanding tens of millions in new fees for WPIX and other stations they own. They should stop their anti-consumer demands and work productively to reach an agreement.”

Tribune said Cablevision shuttering of the stations came without any warning, even after Tribune had offered to extend the previous agreement while negotiations continued.

“Tribune was willing to provide Cablevision subscribers access to the valuable programming on these stations while working toward a new agreement,” Tribune said in a statement. “Tribune never made any threat to withdraw these stations or any demand that Cablevision remove them.”

Stations affected are those carried in Cablevision’s New York-New Jersey-Connecticut service area: CW affil WCCT Hartford (Conn.), CW affil KWGN Denver (carried in some of Cablevision’s Optimum West markets) and MyNetwork affil WPHL Philadelphia, carried in a small portion of Cablevision’s New Jersey service area.

Cablevision may hear from New York Mets fans as a result of the WPIX blackout. The station is the local TV home of the team, and is skedded to telecast two away games on Saturday and Sunday.

Tribune added that its offer to Cablevision amounts to “less than a penny a day per subscriber,” which is less than the cable operator pays for many channels with lower ratings. The current negotiations mark the first time that Cablevision has bargained with Tribune for cash compensation for its local stations.

The market environment for retrans deals has changed dramatically in the past three years, as broadcasters in need of new revenue streams began demanding cash fees similar to the carriage coin that multichannel video providers pay to other channels. Cablevision has about 3.3 million subscribers.

The Cablevision-Tribune blackout came just 24 hours after satcaster Dish Network and Sinclair Broadcast Group came to terms, after much saber-rattling, on a deal that went down to the wire and threatened to blackout 70 Sinclair stations in 45 markets, including St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

Tribune’s station group endured a four-day blackout on a broader scale in late March-early April when it engaged in a similar retrans wrangle with satcaster DirecTV, which carries all of Tribune’s 23 local stations.

More TV

  • Vis-a-Vis Mediapro

    Fox's Hit Spanish Drama 'Locked Up' Gets Spinoff, Launching 2020

    Fox Network Groups in Spain and Globomedia, the Barcelona-based parent company of production house The Mediapro Studio, have announced a spinoff to Mediapro’s flagship Catalan series “Vis a Vis” (“Locked Up”). Set to air on Fox networks in 2020, “Vis a Vis: El Oasis” will close the circle on narratives from the original series, bringing [...]

  • ‘Peaky Blinders’ Scribe Bringing SAS Special

    ‘Peaky Blinders’ Scribe Bringing Special Forces Story ‘SAS: Rogue Heroes’ to TV

    Steven Knight is adapting “SAS: Rogue Heroes,” bringing the story of the elite British special forces unit to TV. Knight has enjoyed enormous success with his series “Peaky Blinders,” and also penned “Taboo” and the feature films “Locke” and “Eastern Promises.” His SAS series will be based on Ben Macintyre’s best-selling non-fiction book “SAS: Rogue [...]

  • ‘Riviera’ Renewed for Season 3 at

    ‘Riviera’ With Julia Stiles Renewed for Season 3 at Sky

    Sky has ordered a third season of “Riviera” with filming starting this fall. Julia Stiles will return as Georgina Clios and the action is set to move from France’s Cote d’Azur to an international stage. Stiles will also exec produce the new season, which was announced soon after season two launched on U.K. pay-TV platform [...]

  • Ari Emanuel Endeavor

    Endeavor IPO Filing Offers Details of Company's Financials, Leadership Pay Packages

    Endeavor’s IPO filing Thursday offers a hard look at the company’s financial performance during the past three years during a period of rapid growth for the company that’s home to UFC, WME, Professional Bull Riders and a clutch of other assets. Endeavor is generating solid free cash flow from operations and healthy adjusted earnings for [...]

  • Blake Jenner What If TV Show

    'What/If' Star Blake Jenner on Creating Chemistry With Jane Levy, Renee Zellweger

    Blake Jenner first rose to fame in 2012 when he won “The Glee Project” and therefore earned a role on “Glee” proper. In the years since, though, he graduated from teen heartthrob status to meatier, edgier roles in films such as “American Animals” and now the Netflix limited series “What/If,” in which he stars opposite [...]

  • Mario Lopez Candy Crush

    Mario Lopez, Seth Kurland Set Latinx Family Comedy Series at Netflix

    Mario Lopez and Seth Kurland are teaming up for a new comedy series at Netflix. Variety has learned that the streamer has given a 16 episode order to the multi-cam comedy “The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia” co-created by Lopez and Kurland. In the series, when Ashley Garcia — the world’s only 15-and-a-half-year-old robotics engineer [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content