Cablevision-ABC dispute likely to affect Oscars telecast

Stalled negotiations mean millions of Cablevision subscribers in the New York area are unlikely to catch the Oscars when they air live tonight -- much less any other ABC television over the next few days.

Cablevision this weekend again rejected Disney-ABC's demands that it pay more to carry Disney signals over its airwaves, representatives from both sides told reporters on Sunday. 

Consequently, ABC stopped sharing its feed at midnight -- just hours before the Oscars -- and is likely to remain dark unless Cablevision relents and agrees to pay another $40 million in annual fees.

"Cablevision has once again betrayed its subscribers," Charissa Gilmore, a spokeswoman for the Walt Disney Co. and ABC Television Group, told The Associated Press in a statement. "Cablevision pocketed almost $8 billion last year, and now customers aren't getting what they pay for ... again."

But Cablevision Systems Corp. quickly fired back, telling AP reporters that Disney was merely trying to hold viewers "hostage" in an attempt to profit more this year.

"It is now painfully clear to millions of New York area households that Disney CEO Bob Iger will hold his own ABC viewers hostage in order to extract $40 million in new fees from Cablevision," continued Charles Schueler, Cablevision executive vice president.