This afternoon, Charles Schueler, Cablevision’s executive vice president of communications, responded to the threats by Disney/ABC to pull WABC-TV off Cablevision on March 7 at midnight, thus jeopardizing the broadcast of the Academy Awards on Sunday night to viewers in New York City.
Schueler’s statement to the press said: “We pay more than $200 million a year to ABC Disney for their programming and now they say they will pull the plug unless Cablevision pays $40 million more in new fees for the exact same channels. It is not fair to force Cablevision customers to pay a new TV tax for programming ABC Disney gives away free, both over-the-air and on the Internet. In tough economic times, it is shameful that ABC Disney would hold viewers hostage by threatening to pull the plug, and we urge them to work with us to reach a fair agreement.”
ABC has tried, without success, to renegotiate a new contract with Cablevision for the past two years. ABC said viewers will be able to see the Academy Awards for free over-the-air if a deal isn’t struck.