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Cablevision And Scripps Strike New Carriage Deal

Cablevision and Scripps Networks Interactive have a deal to return the Food Network and HGTV to viewers in the New York region. The two companies issued a joint statement today, saying that service would be restored.

Cablevision did not say what the terms of the deal were. Two separate executives suggested Cablevision had been exploring launching its own TV services in the food realm and had looked at a separate food-oriented video on demand service and considered the launch of a food oriented channel. It is unclear whether this latest agreement would end those ambitions. Earlier this week, Scripps expanded the amount of content airing on the Tribune-owned broadcast station in the New York market.

In a statement, John Lansing, executive vice president of Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. and president of the company's Scripps Networks operating division said: "This is the resolution everyone wanted. Cablevision has been a valued distribution partner and we're gratified that together we were able to reach a successful conclusion that will benefit their customers and viewers of our networks."

John Bickham, Cablevision's President of Cable & Communications, said: "Food Network and HGTV have strong and loyal followings and we are pleased that both channels are back where they belong on Cablevision and available to our customers in both standard-definition and free HD."

Both two lifestyle cable channels will return to the New York airwaves beginning this evening, Jan. 21, after a deal was struck today. Scripps Networks Interactive had yanked the channels when their carriage agreement expired at the end of 2009.
Scripps had pushed Cablevision for a substantial improvement in the rate the cable system pays to carry the two top rated channels. Scripps was looking for a subscription fee of between 20 cents and 30 cents. The networks had previously averaged subs fees of 13 cents for HGTV and only eight cents for Food network. Neither side would detail where the final negotiation landed.
However, the carriage battle unleashed one of the fiercest PR battles of recent times. Both sides took out ads in the New York papers to explain the situation and used the media to make their point. Scripps also turned to the broadcast network airwaves to get their shows to New York viewers. The WPIX station, part owned by Tribune Co., has a stake in Food Network, and will discontinue broadcasting Food Network shows after this weekend's broadcast.