My wrap in tomorrow's paper...
At least the rhetoric - if not negotiations - continue to move forward as the deadline looms for WABC/7 to pulls its signal off of Cablevision early tomorrow morning.
Both companies traded barbed and unusually personal statements late yesterday, with Cablevision calling on Disney CEO Bob Iger to end the standoff, and ABC telling Cablevision CEO James Dolan to "stop slinging mud and start cutting a deal."
Both companies say are girding for a 12:01 a.m. deadline tonight, when ABC threatens to drop its signal, or 20 hours before one of the most important telecasts of the year. A blackout would effect some 3.1 million homes in the tri-state area, although Cablevision subscribers in Connecticut would continue to have access to WTNH in New Haven.
According to an ABC statement published in editions of the Wall Street Journal Friday, "Negotiations are ongoing, as they have been for two years, but we have yet to receive a fair offer." However, both companies yesterday referred to their late day statements, suggesting the brinkmanship has escalated.
“There is one man who is going to decide whether New York gets to see the Oscars, and that's Disney President and CEO Bob Iger," according to a statement attributed to Cablevision's longtime chief of comminations, Charles Schueler. It added: "We call on Bob Iger to stop holding his own viewers hostage, end his threats to pull the plug on ABC at midnight and instead work with us to reach a fair agreement. The switch is in Bob Iger’s hands.”
Within the hour, ABC sent this: “It’s an insult to Cablevision customers that with literally hours to go before losing access to ABC7, Cablevision is personally attacking Disney executives," according to Rebecca Campbell, GM of Ch. 7, adding: "If Cablevision CEO James Dolan and the Dolan Family Dynasty have any regard at all for the millions of customers who pay hard earned dollars for their
service, they will order their troops to stop slinging mud and start cutting a deal.”
Jaci Clement, president of Bethpage-based Fair Media Council, said last night, "The public is not happy with either ABC or Cablevision. They're fed up in general and [they] view the battle as people slinging mud back and for no real reason."