FCC Judge Seeks Some Answers from Cablevison, GSN

Wants status report and input on possible new hearing date

The FCC's administrative law judge is trying to light a fire under Cablevision and Game Show Network.

In an order released this week, Judge Richard Sippel has given the parties until Dec. 6 to report back on their progress in preparing for their hearing, including proposing a hearing date.

He said it has been "quite some time" since he had heard from either one, and in the interest of moving the case forward, he was seeking the status report the "describes the actions currently being taken to prepare for hearing and includes estimates as to when the parties will be prepared to propose a new hearing date."

GSN filed its carriage complaint back in October 2011, saying Cablevision had used its market power to favor its own affiliated network at GSN's expense in violation of FCC rules.

The hearing was to have been held last May, but was delayed after judge Sippel and the parties decided to wait in hopes of getting some guidance from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in the Tennis Channel/Comcast suit.

A three-judge panel of that court in May that Comcast did not violate the FCC's program carriage rules by keeping Tennis on a sports tier rather than give it the wider distribution Tennis had sought. The hearing had been moved to July, but Tennis Channel was not done with the court, asking for en banc (full court) review of that decision.

The court rejected that request in September. Sippel is now ready to get moving.