HGTV, Food Net yanked off Cablevision


Scripps Networks Interactive has pulled two of its top-rated cable networks from Cablevision systems in New York, Long Island and the Tri-State region.

Food Network and HGTV went dark on those systems at midnight Jan. 1, following failed distribution negotiations between the two companies.

The standoff is one of three retransmission dramas playing out across the nation. Fox and Time Warner Cable seem to have come to a temporary truce for a few hours. Sinclair Broadcast Group and Mediacom have extended their carriage agreement for eight days while they continue to hammer out an agreement.

About 3 million TV viewers were affected by the lack of a new agreement between Scripps and Cablevision to replace the current one which expired Dec. 31.

The two companies are at a standoff over distribution fees. According to Scripps, Cablevision charges subscribers $83 per month, but Food Network and HGTV combined receive less than 25 cents per subscriber.

"The rates we are seeking represent a very modest increase when you consider that Food Network and HGTV are among the top networks in all of cable. Even with the reset we've proposed, about 35 other networks will be receiving higher fees per subscriber than these viewer favorites," said John Lansing, executive vp of Scripps Networks Interactive and president of the company's Scripps Networks operating division.

In a statement, Cablevision seemed to shut the door on further negotiations: "We are sorry that Scripps' current financial difficulties are making it impossible for them to continue our relationship on terms that are reasonable for Cablevision and our customers. We wish Scripps well and have no expectation of carrying their programming again, given the dramatic changes in their approach to working with distributors to reach television viewers."

Scripps has launched a consumer campaign to try and get Cablevision to reconsider. Cablevision subscribers can log on to ilovefoodnetwork.com and ilovehgtv.com.
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