With about 5.5 hours to go before the awards ceremony begins, there is still hope that the 82 Annual Academy Awards will show up on Cablevision and that it will work out its retransmission dispute with WABC-TV.
In the latest statement at 2:30pm ET from WABC-TV's president and GM Rebecca Campbell she left out the words "legendary greed' in reference to Cablevision and made them a new offer she is still waiting to hear back on.
"We have sent Cablevision a new proposal, and are awaiting their response. If Cablevision is serious about doing right by their customers and returning ABC7 and its programming to them, then they need to act now. The ball is in their court."
ABC7 urges Cablevision customers to call 1-877-990-ABC7 or visit SaveABC7.com to express their concerns and for information on how to switch service providers or receive ABC7’s signal free, over-the-air.
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.
Updated 3:15p ET: Cablevision offers to agree to binding arbitration, hopes it will get WABC-TV back on Cablevision immediately:
CABLEVISION WILL ACCEPT BINDING ARBITRATION WITH ABC DISNEY, CALLS FOR RETURN OF ABC TO VIEWERS IN TIME FOR OSCARS
BETHPAGE, NY, March 7, 2010 – Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE: CVC) today said it would agree to government calls for binding arbitration with ABC Disney in order to immediately return ABC to Cablevision customers. ABC Disney pulled ABC off Cablevision last night at midnight as negotiations continued on a new agreement, removing the channel from more than 3 million New York area homes.
Earlier today, U.S. Senator John Kerry and other leading officials urged ABC Disney to restore ABC to Cablevision customers and suggested arbitration to resolve the dispute.
Charles Schueler, Cablevision’s executive vice president of communications, said:
“We remain deeply disappointed that ABC Disney has put their own financial interests above their viewers and pulled the plug on ABC. Given the extraordinary public interest in this matter, Senator Kerry and other public officials have suggested that arbitration is appropriate in this highly unusual situation. Thus, Cablevision will agree to binding arbitration and calls upon Disney CEO Bob Iger to immediately return ABC to New York area viewers, and join us in binding arbitration to resolve this matter fairly. We have communicated our position to the highest levels of the FCC and urged the agency to appropriately involve itself in this process.”
Cablevision has been able to reach agreement with every other major broadcaster in New York, and has proposed to ABC Disney terms for ABC that are as good or better than the terms in all these agreements. Over the last few days, more than 70 elected officials at the federal, state and local level called on ABC Disney to keep ABC on Cablevision while the companies worked in good faith to reach a fair agreement.
Cablevision customers interested in current information on the ABC Disney matter can visit http://www.cablevision.com/abc
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.