WFSB pulls plug on Cablevision day before NFL playoff games

AP peyton-manning-denver-broncos-2013-quarterback-4The long brewing dispute between Cablevision and WFSB came to a head Friday evening when the CBS affiliate pulled its programming off the cable provider’s offerings.

Cablevision has agreed to pay for WFSB programming for its customers in New Haven and Litchfield counties, where WFSB is the only CBS affiliate. WFSB won’t accept that deal without Fairfield County being part of the arrangement.

Cablevision claims that its Fairfield County customers should not have to pay for WFSB programming on Channel 3 when they already receive WCBS’ offerings on Channel 2.

WFSB says it has negotiated similar deals with other cable companies, and is only asking for recognition of its fair market value and equitable treatment.

In a statement, Cablevision’s public relations representatives said, “In an unprecedented move, the WFSB owners have now pulled the plug on CBS programming in parts of central Litchfield and three New Haven County towns unless Cablevision and its customers agree to pay for two CBS channels in Fairfield County.

“It is outrageous and unfair for the WFSB owners to hold customers in parts of Litchfield and New Haven Counties hostage in order to force Fairfield County customers to pay twice for essentially the same CBS programming.”

WFSB’s press release read, “The fact is that we are only asking Cablevision OptimumTV for pennies a day for our programming. Without fair and equitable treatment, local TV stations such as WFSB will not be able to continue to provide top quality news, sports, entertainment, and other local programming.”

The timing of the breakdown in talks comes a day before the NFL playoff games are to be held. Football fans won’t starve, though, as both NBC and CBS have said they will stream the games live online for the first time. But for those who haven’t figured out to watch streaming Internet on their big screens, the sports bar might be a better option than the iPad for watching the games.

You can read more about the dispute between Cablevision and WFSB here.

Christine Hall