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ABC Pulled the Plug

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They did it. 3 million cable subscribers in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey are now without access to broadcast network ABC after parent company Disney and Cablevision were unable to come to terms on a new contract. Disney had been threatening to pull the plug since disagreements arose between the two companies over how much ABC should be payed for the right to broadcast it's programs. 'What does this mean for the Academy Awards?', you might ask. Cablevision declared that it would accept binding arbitration with the network so that Cablevision subscribers could have immediate access to ABC in time for the award ceremony, and both companies released statements that gave hope that the two were working to have ABC restored in time for the Oscars. Arbitration would mean the two companies would seek a third party, out of court, to decide the outcome/terms of the new contract, but it is unclear what that third party might be. Senator John Kerry has been calling for arbitration and FCC intervention, which said it has been in contact with the two companies and has been monitoring the situation. However, this does not yet mean that both companies have decided to go into arbitration, so as of yet, the FCC cannot decide the outcome. The FCC's media bureau chief William Lake commented on the situation with, "Customers should not suffer due to the inability of these two companies to successfully negotiate a deal." Cablevision states that Disney is responsible for pulling the plug, and has called for restoration of service, also claiming that Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger is "holding ABC's viewers hostage in order to extract $40 million in new fees" over the $200 million it currently receives. Disney stated that negotiations have been happening for two years, and WABC declared that Cablevision had "betrayed its subscirbers by losing ABC 7." TheCelebrityCafe.com will keep you posted as more unravels.