BETHPAGE, N.Y. — Cablevision Systems Corp. yesterday told the government Fox has acted in bad faith in blacking out its programming to 3 million subscribers.
The cable operator said it is facing an ultimatum to pay more than double its previous tab for Fox programming or miss out on carrying baseball’s World Series, starting tomorrow.
Fox said it has negotiated in good faith and called Cablevision’s claims a ploy to get the government to step in.
Signals from three Fox stations have been blocked to Cablevision customers since Oct. 16. Cablevision says Fox, a division of News Corp., is asking for more than $150 million a year for those channels and others, up from $70 million a year until the deal expired recently.
Cablevision said Fox had made only a “take it or leave it’’ proposal, timing the blackout to coincide with major sporting events. Fox denied the charge.
“We have never made any ‘take it or leave it’ demands, nor are we asking for $150 million in fees,’’ Fox said in a statement.
On Friday, the Federal Communications Commission asked both companies to describe how they are meeting a mandate to negotiate in good faith. Such good-faith negotiations are a requirement in a law that allows broadcasters to bargain with cable and satellite companies for fees to carry TV signals that are otherwise sent freely to anyone with a suitable antenna.
Cablevision shares closed down 6 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $26.43, while News Corp.’s widely traded Class A shares fell 15 cents, or 1 percent, to $14.25.