As time runs out, politicians get into Cablevision-Fox spat

The easiest way to get a politician's attention is through a large campaign contribution. The second easiest way is to mess with sports programming. Cablevision Systems (NYSE: CVC) and Fox Networks now have the attention of New Jersey politicians as they wrangle into the 11th hour and possibly beyond on a new retransmission agreement.

In real news on the dispute, Cablevision said it would agree to binding arbitration under the direction of a neutral third party; Fox rejected the idea, maintaining "direct business-to-business negotiation is the only way to resolve this issue."

If an agreement can't be reached, Cablevision will lose the right to retransmit Fox TV broadcast stations in Philadelphia and New York City, effectively blacking out the Phillies' and Yankees' quest for another World Series meeting. That's hard to digest for New Jersey Assembly members Linda Greenstein and Wayne DeAngelo, who sent a letter to Fox and Cablevision execs expressing "hope that, before Friday's deadline, an appropriate resolution can be reached without customers being left without service."

No doubt that missive will provide the turning point in this drama.

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