×

John McCain’s A La Carte Cable Bill Gains a Co-Sponsor

Connecticut's Richard Blumenthal Backs Legislation

Sen. John McCain’s proposed legislation to force cable operators to offer channels a la carte gained new co-sponsor on Tuesday, as Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) announced that he would back the bill.

Blumenthal is a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, which would have jurisdiction over such legislation.

“Consumers should not have to pay for television channels they don’t want or watch,” Blumenthal said. “The current antiquated, antidemocratic system imposes all-or-nothing cable packages that give consumers no control over their cable bill, and prevent subscribers from voting with their feet when they are unhappy.”

McCain said that “the government and special interests have stacked the regulatory deck in favor of preserving an outdated business model that forces consumers to buy — at ever-increasing prices — ‘bundled’ cable packages filled with channels they don’t want to watch.”

A spokesman for the National Cable and Telecommunications Assn. said they had no comment. But cable executives have argued that offering channels a la carte would actually reduce diversity, in that lesser-rated channels would struggle to survive. Meanwhile, they argue that bigger channels like ESPN could command hefty prices from consumers, perhaps even driving up their bills even further. Some noted that ESPN is based in Blumenthal’s home state.

The Television Consumer Freedom Act establishes that cable, satellite or any multichannel video operator has the “legal right’ to offer any channel on an a la carte basis. Although it was given long odds of passage, McCain has said that it has “overwhelming support” among consumers.

More Biz

  • Harvey WeinsteinHarvey Weinstein court hearing, New

    D.A. Tells Harvey Weinstein Jury: 'He Was a Rapist'

    A prosecutor told jurors on Wednesday that Harvey Weinstein wielded his immense power in Hollywood to rape vulnerable young women and then to keep them silent. Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast gave jurors a vivid recounting of multiple sexual assaults, including the story of Jessica Mann, a witness who has not previously been identified. She [...]

  • Ryan Tracey

    CAA Hires TV Agent Ryan Tracey (EXCLUSIVE)

    Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has hired Ryan Tracey as an agent in the television department, Variety has learned exclusively. Tracey comes to CAA from UTA, where he had most recently served as head of TV Production. He has represented an numerous television producers during his career, including Aida Rodgers, Kathy Ciric, Anna Dokoza, Ellen Kuras, Mark Winemaker, [...]

  • Neil Portnow Grammys

    Ex-Grammy Chief Neil Portnow Responds to Rape Allegations

    The most explosive of many allegations in ousted Recording Academy Deborah Dugan’s complaint against the organization Tuesday was a claim that her predecessor, Neil Portnow, had been accused of raping a “foreign” singer who was a member of the Academy, and that Academy executives were aware of it at the time of Dugan’s hiring. On [...]

  • Why the Oscars, Emmys Shouldn't Try

    Grammy Awards Nominating Is Marred by Insider Deals, Ousted CEO’s Complaint Alleges

    Amid the multiple claims in former Recording Academy boss Deborah Dugan’s blockbuster complaint against the organization is a section that is deeply critical of the Grammy Awards nominating processes and essentially accuses it of insider dealing and corruption. Its allegations, if true, suggest worst-case scenarios, many involving the Board of Trustees that ultimately controls the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content