Southwestern Connecticut Cablevision customers could lose CBS affiliate by 2014.
WFSB-TV announced Thursday morning, Dec. 26, it has been unable to reach a new agreement with the most-used cable company in southwestern Connecticut. The current agreement expires on Dec. 31 at midnight.
WFSB, broadcast on Channel 3, is based out of Harford and is owned by the Meredith Corporation. The company announced last decade it planned to increase its Fairfield County news coverage after centering much of its coverage in and around the Hartford-New Haven area. But that coverage has mainly been in alternate infomercials simulcast on an alternate Chanel 3 in this area.
Cablevision's Optimum TV service does carry New York's WCBS-TV, which is owned by CBS, and offers much of the same programming in high definition. That network came to terms with Cablevision in September 2012. Cablevision said 80% of its subscribers will continued to receive WCBS.
“Cablevision has already agreed to pay for carriage of WFSB Channel 3 in parts of Litchfield and New Haven Counties where it is the local CBS channel," Kelly McAndrew, a Cablevision spokesman, told Hersam Acorn Newspapers. "In an unprecedented move, the owners of WFSB Channel 3 are now threatening to punish viewers in parts of central Litchfield and three towns in New Haven County by blacking out CBS programming unless Cablevision agrees to pay for two different CBS channels in Fairfield County.
"Cablevision has been fighting to hold the line on skyrocketing programming costs, and we urge the owners of WFSB Channel 3 to leave the channel on and not punish their viewers in parts of central Litchfield County and three towns in New Haven County," McAndrew said.
On its website, WFSB wrote Thursday morning, Dec. 26: "We are disappointed in the outcome of our negotiations, especially since we have successfully reached agreements with every major cable and satellite company that recognizes our fair market value. The fact is that we are only asking Cablevision OptimumTV for pennies a day from your cable bill for our programming. Without fair and equitable treatment, local TV stations will not be able to continue to provide top-quality news, sports, entertainment, and other local programming that is most important to you."