The two-week spat between the broadcaster Fox and the cable television provider Cablevision has ended, but neither side was in the mood for kind words about the other.
On Saturday evening, Fox stations again appeared on the television screens of three million Cablevision customers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, ending one of the longest blackouts in industry history, The New York Times reports. The dispute had caused viewers to miss a range of regular programming and sporting events, including games from Major League Baseball's World Series and National Football League.
The blackout, which began at midnight (EST) on 16 October, was the result of a failure of the two parties to come to an agreement over the size of Cablevision's payments to obtain the carriage rights for Fox stations. Fox had reportedly sought a substantial increase in fees, which Cablevision described as "unreasonable and unfair".
The parties said last night that they had come to a deal "in principle". Terms of the deal were not released, but Cablevision's statement clearly indicated that it had ultimately buckled to Fox's demands.
The carriage war goes on
Spokepeople on both sides continued to take pot-shots at one another after Fox stations came back on the air. In an email, Cablevision also hit out at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which disregarded the cable company's repeated requests for direct intervention and binding arbitration.
"In the absence of any meaningful action from the FCC, Cablevision has agreed to pay Fox an unfair price for multiple channels of its programming including many in which our customers have little or no interest. Cablevision conceded because it does not think its customers should any longer be denied the Fox programs they wish to see," the company said in a statement.
Cablevision added that it was "clear the retransmission consent system is badly broken and needs to be fixed".
In a terse response, Fox said that Cablevision had persistently failed to negotiate in good faith.
"These comments should not surprise anyone, and they further confirm that this entire dispute was solely about Cablevision's misguided efforts to effect regulatory change to their benefit," a spokesperson said.
The resolution of the dispute came after a protracted process, during which Fox and Cablevision repeatedly halted negotiations and hurled volleys at each other via the media. The most recent flare-up during the impasse occurred on Wednesday, when Fox knocked back a revised offer from Cablevision and dismissed it as a "publicity stunt".
Media Spy discussion: US Television