Here's the  latest: Cablevision, which received an offer from Disney this morning, is now asking that its rival enter into binding arbitration, which effectively means that it will agree to whatever a government-appointed overseer determines is a fair retransmission agreement.

  Here's the statement, or a portion thereof: 

  "... Senator Kerry and other public officials have suggested that arbitration is appropriate in this highly unusual situation.  Thus, Cablevision will agree to binding arbitration and calls upon Disney CEO Bob Iger to immediately return ABC to New York area viewers, and join us in binding arbitration to resolve this matter fairly.  We have communicated our position to the highest levels of the FCC and urged the agency to appropriately involve itself in this process.”

 Why is this important? Because it puts the onus on ABC to come up with a better idea. It would look awfully bad if ABC - for ABC - if it rejects binding arbitration AND keeps the Oscars out of 3.1 million  homes.

  I've got calls into ABC. Awaiting a statement now. (The New York Times has reported that an "executive" at Disney says arbitration is "not an option."  Another ABC exec told me a statement is coming.) Cablevision is also offering free Video on demand tonight - or so various tweets suggest. I have yet to see a formal release with specifics. 

  Meanwhile, Dean Skelos, Senate Republican Leader, just sent out this:

        The decision by Disney ABC to pull their signal from Cablevision subscribers and deny them access to WABC-TV is unfortunate.  Last week I wrote to the heads of both companies and urged that they work around the clock to resolve their differences
before tonight's telecast of the Academy Awards.  Those negotiations must continue and both parties should agree to binding arbitration if necessary.  In the meantime, ABC Disney should restore its signal so that consumers are not held hostage during these negotiations.

  And this, from Nita Lowey (D-NY) :

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"I am disappointed ABC Disney pulled its signal, denying millions of New York area households the ability to see WABC-TV.  It is time for both parties to put consumers first.

"If ABC Disney and Cablevision cannot reach an agreement allowing New Yorkers immediate access to WABC-TV, both parties should agree to a binding arbitration process to resolve this matter.  It is imperative that consumers be held harmless during this process by having the signal restored immediately."