About 12 seconds after I posted this, I received the following from Cablevision:
CABLEVISION ANNOUNCES RETURN OF WABC
BETHPAGE, NY, March 7, 2010 – Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE: CVC) announced the immediate return of WABC to Cablevision.
Charles Schueler, Cablevision’s executive vice president of communications, said:
“We are happy to report that WABC Channel 7 has returned to Cablevision’s 3 million New York area homes. We are very grateful to our customers for their support and pleased to welcome ABC back.”
Cablevision Systems Corporation is one of the nation’s leading telecommunications, media and entertainment companies. In addition to its Optimum-branded cable, Internet, and voice offerings, the company owns and operates News 12 Networks, MSG Varsity and Newsday Media Group. Cablevision’s assets also include Rainbow Media Holdings LLC and its programming and entertainment businesses, AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel, WE tv and IFC Entertainment, as well as Clearview Cinemas. Additional information about Cablevision is available on the Web at www.cablevision.com.
And here’s the statement from ABC:
Statement from Rebecca Campbell, President and General Manager, WABC-TV, regarding current status of negotiations with Cablevision:
“We’ve made significant progress, and have reached an agreement in principle that recognizes the fair value of ABC7, with deal points that we expect to finalize with Cablevision. Given this movement, we’re pleased to announce that ABC7 will return to Cablevision households while we work to complete our negotiations.”
WABC-TV, Channel 7, the most watched local television station in the United States, serves more than 7.4 million television households in 29 counties covering New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. For more than 60 years, ABC7 has consistently been the leader in local news and local and national entertainment programming.
There was no new retransmission deal at the last minute to get WABC-TV back on Cablevision in time for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards. Leaving whatever portion of Cablevision’s 3.3 million subscribers who were wanting to watch the Oscars scrambling for rabbit ears or making alternate viewing plans.
While I’m a bit surprised that there wasn’t a last second deal, Cablevision plays hardball as witnessed by Scripps pulling HGTV and Food Network for three weeks beginning January 1.
While there is no bigger telecast on ABC for the year than the Academy Awards, it won’t surprise me if Tuesday night’s Lost doesn’t drive more of a frenzy over the issue on the Internet. But since they didn’t get a deal done in time for the Oscars, I won’t be surprised if WABC-TV is still not on Cablevision come 9pm Tuesday night.