Updated: Fox, Cablevision Can’t Break Ice

Fox Wednesday (Oct. 27) cratered any hope that their retransmission showdown with Cablevision would come to a close hours before Game 1 of the World Series.

Cablevision Wednesday offered to pay Fox what Time Warner Cable pays for Fox, a rate it said was “higher than the rate we pay any other New York broadcast station.”

But Fox countered that the offer was incomplete and not acceptable. “Cablevision is seeking a discounted ‘package rate’ without buying the entire package. We have told Cablevision all along we are willing to negotiate a deal—based on an entire suite of channels—under the terms we have reached with Time Warner Cable and other providers, or a standalone agreement for WNYW Fox 5, WTXF Fox 29 and WWOR My9. Cablevision’s offer—sent to the press just as it was provided to us—is yet another in a long line of publicity stunts,” Fox said in a statement.

Cablevision’s offer came just one day after Cablevision again asked the Federal Communications Commission to step in and mediate the dispute and the day after Fox threatened to sue Cablevision for suggesting to subscribers that the games could be viewed on illegal Web sites.

Fox’s rejection sent Cablevision back to the FCC for help. “On behalf of our customers, we are very disappointed that we offered News Corp. what they asked to be paid for Fox 5 and Fox 29 and News Corp. has said no. It is now clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that News Corp. is operating in bad faith. We call on the FCC to intervene immediately to restore the Fox signals to Cablevision’s 3 million homes and order News Corp. to agree to binding arbitration to resolve this conflict,” said Charles Schueler, evp of communications for Cablevision.

Since Oct. 15, Cablevision has been unable to carry the Fox TV stations and a handful of cable networks in New York and Philadelphia, setting off one of the industry’s nastiest retransmission fights characterized by countless press releases, finger-pointing and posturing by politicians and regulators.

During the standoff, Cablevision has made repeated pleas for binding arbitration and for involvement from the FCC, which requested information from both companies to show the two were negotiating in good faith.