Cablevision Charges Tribune With 'Illegally Tying' Stations Deals

Broadcaster says its approach is lawful and complies with FCC good-faith rules

Cablevision Systems stepped up the rhetoric Friday in its retrans battle with Tribune Co., accusing the broadcaster of trying to "illegally tie" agreements for its Fox affiliate in Hartford, Conn., and New York's WPIX -- a charge Tribune refuted, saying its approach was lawful and fully complies with FCC rules.

The Bethpage, N.Y.-based operator pulled four Tribune station feeds around midnight Friday, including WPIX, saying Tribune was demanding an tens of millions of dollars in new fees.

Tribune said Cablevision pulled its signals without warning, after the broadcaster told the MSO it was willing to continue providing the station feeds while the companies negotiated a new deal. According to Tribune, it is asking for less than a penny per day per subscriber in retrans fees, well below what Cablevision pays to "providers of less well-watched channels."

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