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Cable Operators

Service Electric May Lose Fox Networks, WNEP

MSO's Programming Contracts with Fox and ABC Affiliate Expire Dec. 31 12/29/2012 4:03 AM Eastern

In two separate potential New Year's Eve showdowns, midsize cable operator Service Electric Cablevision is attempting to strike deals with Fox for several cable networks and two TV stations as well as with ABC affiliate WNEP.

The cable operator's current agreement with Fox, which expires Jan. 1, affects about 100,000 subs located in the Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and Philadelphia designated market areas. The deal covers FX, Speed, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild, Fox Soccer, BTN, FUEL TV, Fox Movie Channel and Fox College Sports. In addition, the deal covers Fox 29 (WTXF Philadelphia) and My9 (WWOR Seacaucus).

Meanwhile, WNEP, the ABC affiliate serving Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, Pa., said the station may go dark for Service Electric customers if the companies can't reach a retransmission-consent agreement by midnight Dec. 31.

"Service Electric Cablevision/CATV says WNEP isn’t worth 4 cents a day for all of our local programming and content," the station says on its website. "These are market rates."

"While negotiations are ongoing and our current agreement does not expire until midnight, January 1, we feel it's necessary to let their subscribers know that a service interruption is possible," Fox Networks Group senior vice president of communications Scott Grogin wrote in an email.

Fox is running on-air messages during its programming about the Service Electric dispute as well as animated Web ads and a website, keepmyfoxnets.com.

Service Electric officials did not respond Saturday to a request for comment about the disputes.

September