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Cablevision drops Tribune channels

The Cablevision Systems Corp. headquarters in Bethpage. (Nov.

The Cablevision Systems Corp. headquarters in Bethpage. (Nov. 19, 2010) Credit: Bloomberg News

Cablevision Systems has pulled stations owned by Tribune Broadcasting, including WPIX / 11, off the air in a dispute over programming fees.

Cablevision, which owns Newsday, issued a statement early Friday saying Tribune is demanding high retransmission consent fees for its stations because its parent company is still working its way out of bankruptcy.

"The bankrupt Tribune Company and the hedge funds and banks that own it, including Oaktree Capital Management, Angelo Gordon & Co. and others are trying to solve Tribune's financial problems on the backs of Cablevision customers," Cablevision said. "Tribune and their hedge fund owners are demanding tens of millions in new fees for WPIX and other stations they own. They should stop their anti-consumer demands and work productively to reach an agreement."

Tribune said in a separate statement that Cablevision's decision came "in the middle of negotiations with Tribune and without warning . . . Cablevision took this action despite our offer of an unconditional extension of the current carriage agreement with no change in terms while negotiations continued."

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