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World Series blackout ends for N.Y. cable customers

By Mark M. Meinero, assistant managing editor

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Cablevision Systems Corp. said Saturday it has agreed to pay higher fees to carry Fox Networks' programming, ending a dispute that caused millions of New Yorkers to miss the first two games of the 2010 World Series.

The cable operator said channels that had been off its system since Oct. 16 were restored in time for the start of the third game of the series between the San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers. In addition to local Fox channels in the New York and Philadelphia markets, channels off the air included Fox Business Channel, National Geographic Wild and Fox Deportes.

Fox, in a statement on a website dedicated to the dispute, did not disclose terms of the agreement.

Cablevision (CVC, Fortune 500) took a swipe at the Federal Communications Commission, from which it had sought help in resolving the dispute, in announcing the agreement.

"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.," The company said. "Cablevision conceded because it does not think its customers should any longer be denied the Fox programs they wish to see."

Cablevision, on its website, says it serves more than 5 million households and businesses in the New York metropolitan area. In its statement, Fox said the agreement in principle returns its programming to 3 million Cablevision customers.

The dispute is the second involving retransmission rights reached by Fox, a unit of News Corp. (NWS, Fortune 500), in the past two days. On Friday, Fox reached agreement with satellite operator DISH Network (DISH, Fortune 500) on rights to programming on Fox Network, the network's local channels. FX, National Geographic and 19 regional sports networks. To top of page

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