Fox Rejects Retrans Offer, Cablevision Charges ‘Bad Faith’

Updated: Just when it looked like a solution was in sight, a battle of words raged anew

Last Updated: October 27, 2010 @ 3:34 PM

Update: 3:31 p.m.

Just when it looked like the 12-day retransmission standoff between Cablevision and Fox might be coming to an end, the two companies resumed their battle positions on Wednesday afternoon.

A fresh round of charges and countercharges flew after Fox rejected the cable provider's latest bid on carriage fees, calling it "not acceptable" and a "publicity stunt."

With the first game of the World Series scheduled to air on Wednesday night, Cablevision said earlier that it was willing to meet some of Fox's demands.

Cablevision announced that it was willing to pay the same rate that Fox charges Time-Warner Cable for carriage of WNYW-Fox 5 New York and WTXF-Fox 29 Philadelphia for a period of one year.

But that wasn't good enough for Fox. In a statement, Fox called the proposal "incomplete." The network said Cablevision was still trying to get a discounted packaged deal for its suite of channels, and that Fox was interested in negotiating either a stand-alone deal on each individual channel or reaching the same terms it had worked out with other providers.

"Cablevision is seeking a discounted “package rate” without buying the entire package," Fox said in a statement. "Cablevision’s offer – sent to the press just as it was provided to us – is yet another in a long line of publicity stunts."

Cablevision hit back, arguing that Fox's rejection was evidence that the network was negotiating in bad faith. It called on the Federal Communications Commission to intervene and restore the signal. As it has throughout the standoff, Cablevision said it was time for the government to force Fox into binding arbitration.

"On behalf of our customers, we are very disappointed that we offered News Corp. what they asked to be paid for Fox 5 and Fox 29 and News Corp. has said no," Cablevision said in a statement.

The latest volley of riffle fire signals that more than 3 million Cablevision subscribers in the New York area will miss the game tonight as the San Francisco Giants square off against the Texas Rangers for the series crown.

To soften the blow, Cablevision said that it will reimburse customers who pay to watch the post-season games on MLB.com. Customers who purchase the package will have a $10 credit applied to their monthly bill within two billing cycles.

Many analysts have speculated that Cablevision chief James Dolan is using the retransmission standoff to force Congress to intervene and draft new legislation dictating how carriage disputes would be conducted going forward.