Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) told the FCC not to intervene in a fee dispute between Walt Disney Company and Cablevision.
His letter to the agency comes just after Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) asked the FCC to help resolve the battle by fixing the federal rules for signal carriage. (See previous post.)
Disney has threatened to pull its ABC station in New York City from Cablevision's system on Sunday unless the cable company agrees to pay Disney additional fees. That means New Yorkers would miss the much-anticpated Oscars.
"Actual discussion of the deal is best left between the respective companies and their viewers, free from government interference or cajoling," Barton said in his letter to the FCC. "The alternative is to ask the government to weigh the relative value of carriage and of particular programming. This is a risky proposition."
He continued: "Service providers and programmers are closet to their viewers and in a better position than the government to weigh the costs and benefits of carriage deals, especially in as competitive and as complex a video marketplace as we have today. If either party dislikes the deal, either is free to walk away. And both have something to lose: viewers."