Looks like we have yet another cable dispute on our hands and this one involves one of the major network groups. Fox is warning of a potential blackout of its networks on Charter Communications and it could happen as early as this weekend. This doesn’t just involve the Fox broadcast network, but its cable channels including FS1 and its Fox Sports Net regional channels.

In a statement, a Fox spokesman said this will leave many subscribers on Charter’s Spectrum systems without some major programming:

“Fox and Charter Spectrum have an agreement to carry the Fox networks that Charter has chosen to ignore,” a Fox spokesperson said in a statement. “We are disappointed that despite our best efforts over many months to resolve the situation without disruption, Charter’s 16 million subscribers may lose access to a wide variety of programming, including telecasts of the St. Louis Cardinals and Blues, Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Cavaliers, Cincinnati Reds and many other MLB, NBA and NHL teams on Fox Regional Sports Networks, FX’s hit dramas ‘The Americans’ and ‘Feud,’ and National Geographic.”

This dispute goes back to when Charter bought Time Warner Cable last year. Charter paid the TWC subscriber fees, but as they began to expire, the content distributors like Fox wanted the TWC levels to remain the same, but Charter wanted to implement its own fee structure. Fox’s contract with TWC expired in March 31, but the two sides have been trying to reach a deal over the last eight months.

But with no deal in place, Fox says Charter is in breach of contract and is threatening to pull its networks as early as tonight leaving subscribers in the dark for the weekend. Charter has a statement of its own:

“Fox is trying to gouge our customers using the increasingly common tactic of threats and removal of programming,” a Charter spokesperson said in a statement. “They are attempting to extort Charter for hundreds of millions of dollars. We will continue to work towards a fair agreement.​”

So once again, viewers are left holding the bag as two companies fight over money. Hopefully, the two sides will come together on an agreement before any network signals are pulled

[Variety]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.