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Comcast, Disney in a snit

Wed, 10/25/2000 - 8:00pm
Karen Kessler-Tanaka

A Comcast and Disney programming dispute could lead to a blackout of ABC for some major U.S. markets, and actually cause subscribers to use rabbit ears if they want to tune in their favorite "Millionaire" show.

In retransmission negotiations, Disney, who owns ABC, wants Comcast, the third-largest cable company, to offer ToonDisney and SoapNet in addition to the Disney Channel to basic service subscribers gratis.

It's a routine contract negotiation," Jenni Moyer, a Comcast spokesperson told CED. "We are in constant communication with [Disney} and we're fully committed to reaching an agreement. We have no intention of pulling the signal."

If ABC goes dark, affected regions would include, Philadelphia, north New Jersey suburbs, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toledo, Ohio and Flint, Mich. Agreement must be reached on Sunday before subscribers need to dig the low-tech ears out of the attic.

Disney had a similar disagreement with Time-Warner in May this year. In that case, ABC was dark for two days until Time-Warner agreed to carry the Disney Channel for seven years in return for access to the ABC stations.

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