Cablevision-Disney spat threatens to shut down WABC

A dispute between ABC parent The Walt Disney Company and Cablevision Systems could black out TV station WABC for 3.1 million Cablevision subs in New York City this weekend.

The two companies are fighting over money. Disney wants an additional $40 million in fees on top of the $200 million or so it already gets from Cablevision. Cablevision is holding the line and staring down the programmer.

The main pawn in the struggle is WABC which will carry the Academy Awards Sunday night. Disney maintains the station is the "most watched" in the country. While Disney has always charged for programming like ESPN and the Disney Channel, broadcast stations like WABC were carried free. Now the programmer wants money for WABC as well, even though the signal is available over-the-air to consumers with digital TVs or converters and off-air antennas.

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