FCC chairman chastises Fox, Cablevision

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A top Washington regulator waded into a programming-fee dispute between Cablevision Systems Corp. and News Corp.’s Fox Television division, telling the two sides that “the time for petty gamesmanship is over.”

With a chunk of TV programming blacked out for 3 million people in New York and Philadelphia, Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, called the CEOs of both companies Tuesday to remind them of the importance of reaching a deal, the agency said.

“I am deeply troubled that Cablevision and Fox are spending more time attacking each other through ads and lobbyists than sitting down at the negotiating table,” Mr. Genachowski said in a statement. “They shouldn’t punish consumers because of their unwillingness to reach a deal….We will continue to scrutinize their actions very closely.”

Separately, lawmakers said the dispute, which has left three million Cablevision subscribers without access to Major League Baseball playoff broadcasts and other most Fox programming since Saturday, could prompt action to overhaul the federal laws governing the balance of power between broadcasters and cable companies.

Full story: FCC Chairman Chastises Fox, Cablevision –