Cablevision faces $450 million class action suit over Fox blackout

Cue the Jaws music because the sharks are circling Cablevision. A $450 million class action lawsuit has been filed in New York against the MSO for its inability to reach a deal with News Corp. over retransmission fees.

The suit, brought by a lawyer who has ties to News Corp. in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, claims the cable company "played a game of chicken with News Corp. at the expense of Cablevision customers." And, not only has the dispute robbed customers of programming like Glee and the World Series, the suit claims, it's also kept them from hearing the "distinctive viewpoints" of Fox political pundits "just days before a critical mid-term election."

The suit said Cablevision has refused to reimburse customers for lost programming (aside from the $10 it's willing to pony up to send World Series fans to watch the games online at MLB.com) since the blackout began Oct. 16. It contends Cablevision customers pay an average of $150 per month to the company.

The suit also takes issue with the Cablevision's "annoying and self-serving loop, which whines about News Corp.'s supposed failure to negotiate in good faith."

The website of the attorney, Todd J. Krouner, says he "worked on the acquisition of Fox Television Networks for News Corp. head Rupert Murdoch."

It's not the only one out there, either. Two New York men filed a similar suit earlier in the week.

"As usual, the elephants are dancing and the ants are getting squashed," said William Canfield, one of the plaintiffs.

Cablevision isn't new to lawsuits over retransmission fights. The company faced one earlier this year when HGTV and the Food Network dropped off its line up. That lawsuit was moot after the MSO quickly reached a deal with programmers.

For more:
- see the complaint here
- see the L.A. Times article
- see the New York Post article

Related articles:
Cablevision scores with World Series offer, but no Fox deal
Fox-Cablevision spat feeding web-based cable company's growth spurt
Fox, Cablevision war of words goes on; Dolan asks for mediation again
Fox, Cablevision fee talks stalled, no help from feds; World Series takes a walk
Fox-Cablevision fee battle: Dumb and Dumber Part 2
Fox/Cablevision tiff will drive some cord cutters over the top (or just crazy)

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