* Cablevision loses Fox 5, My9 and some Fox cable stations
* Fox says Cablevision declared 'impasse' in negotiations
* Cablevision demands Fox restore channels immediately
NEW YORK, Oct 16 Cablevision Systems Corp CVC.N
customers in the New York area could miss Major League Baseball
playoff games and NFL games this weekend because the cable operator
failed to reach a programming deal with News Corp's (NWSA.O) Fox
Networks before a midnight deadline on Saturday.
New York stations Fox 5 and My 9, and cable channels NatGeo Wild
and Fox Business Network, were among those that went dark on Saturday
after the existing carriage deal expired.
Both sides accused the other of bad faith negotiations as more
than 3 million homes lost the channels hours before the New York
Yankees play the Texas Rangers in the second game of the MLB American
League Championship series. The NFL's New York Giants were scheduled
to play the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
In prepared statements, each company blamed the other for the loss
"We demand that News Corp put the viewers ahead of its own
greed and immediately restore these channels to our customers
and agree to binding arbitration to reach a fair agreement,"
Cablevision spokesman Charles Schueler said in a statement.
Cablevision has said it currently pays News Corp $70
million every year for its channels, but the Rupert Murdoch-run
company is demanding more than $150 million a year.
Fox Networks said Cablevision was seeking "preferential treatment"
"After days of posturing and the appearance of negotiating,
they formally stopped even the pretense of negotiating at 8 p.m.,
declaring an "impasse," and made no further efforts toward reaching a
new agreement before the expiration," said Mike Hopkins, Fox
Networks' president of affiliate sales.
"We remain willing to negotiate and hope that future talks
ultimately will be productive, but as of now, Cablevision has
declined to counter our most recent proposal."
Both companies have been at loggerheads with other parties
this year over the contentious issue of rising programming fees
paid by cable and satellite operators.
Some of Fox's channels are currently off air on Dish Network
(DISH.O) and there is a possibility more Fox stations will go
dark on Dish at the end of the month.
In January, Cablevision customers lost Scripps Networks' SNI.N
HGTV and Food Network for a few days. It also lost the Walt Disney
Co-owned (DIS.N) local ABC station for several hours in the run-up
to the Oscars telecast in March.
(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke)