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Will the Oscars air on Long Island? Ad dollars could be the key

An eight-foot Oscar statue is unloaded in front

An eight-foot Oscar statue is unloaded in front of the New York Palace Hotel in New York, March 4, 2010. Two Oscar statues were delivered at the hotel as part of preparation for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences official New York Oscar Night celebration which will take place here on March 7, 2010. (Mar. 4, 2010) Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

As of Friday before noon, the parties in the Cablevision-WABC dispute remain exactly where they were Thursday: at loggerheads.

In other words, if your provider is Cablevision, your Oscars telecast remains very much imperiled -- although both sides do have good reasons to strike a deal before 8 p.m. Sunday. (We will update this post throughout the day with the latest news.)

And there have certainly been developments, although those remain mostly confined to Washington.

At least 50 state and local figures have contacted the Federal Communications Commission about this dispute. The FCC -- officially -- has refused to give a comment on them, although an official in the chairman's office Thursday confirmed to me only that it has received "a lot" of correspondence on this issue.

Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) also sent a letter urging resolution.

It is impossible to determine whether the FCC's no-comment stances should be interpreted as noncommittal or whether it is awaiting further developments. 

Yes, we're getting down to the wire -- as was to be expected.

But keep in mind that this script is playing largely according to the lines set by the previous News Corp. and Time Warner dispute, which was resolved hours before bowl games were slated to be blacked out in New York City at the start of this year.

And Disney faces a not-inconsiderable problem: Advertisers buy Oscars' inventory based on a guaranteed figure, and if that figure is not met, then they are made-good with other inventory in other programs or get cash back (rarely, per my memory, the latter).

That's money out of Disney's pocket, possibly a lot of money, especially if the highly desirable Long Island/Connecticut/New Jersey axis is cut out of Sunday night's picture. 

So there is pressure -- everywhere -- to get this done.

Will it get done? We'll see.

Getty Images Photo


PHOTOS and POLL: See photos of the 10 best picture nominees, and vote for which movie you think should win

OSCARS LIVE-BLOG and MORE: Newsday.com will be live-blogging the Oscars and posting complete list of winners Sunday night. Between now and then, see complete coverage at newsday.com/oscars.

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