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Cablevision To Launch NFL Network

The NFL Network has tackled another MSO, signing Cablevision to a multi-year agreement for carriage of 24-hour football-themed channel and the NFL RedZone channel.

The network will launch on channel 150 as part of Cablevision's iO Preferred, iO Silver, iO Gold or the iO Sports & Entertainment Pak beginning tomorrow (Aug. 17), said league officials. NFL RedZone, which airs on Sundays throughout the regular season, will be offered in both standard-definition and HD on channel 151 as part of the iO Sports & Entertainment Pak.

Launched in 2003, the NFL Network is in more than 60 million homes.

The National Football League-owned network kicks off an expanded, 13-game slate of Thursday Night Football during the campaign's second week with pro football's oldest rivalry -- the Chicago Bears visiting the Green Bay Packers at legendary Lambeau Field on Sept. 13.

"We know there is significant interest in the NFL Network and NFL RedZone among our Optimum TV customers, and are pleased to have worked productively with the NFL to offer both channels in time for the upcoming season, and for years to come," Mac Budill, Cablevision's executive vice president of programming, said in a release.

Added NFL Media COO Brian Rolapp: "With the 2012 NFL season approaching, Cablevision subscribers will be able to enjoy our expanded 13-game Thursday Night Football schedule, Sunday NFL GameDay shows, NFL Total Access, Emmy award-winning NFL Films programming and much more in addition [to] NFL RedZone."

Time Warner Cable remains the largest MSO not to carry the NFL Network. The MSO earlier this month pulled the NFL Network from its acquired Insight Communications systems serving Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio.

In a call with reporters, NFL Media COO Brian Rolapp addressed the TWC situation, according to the network, saying: "We are not talking, regrettably, so as a result we're obviously not close. The issues for us are a bit perplexing. Certainly with this Cablevision deal, and you look at the rest of the pay-TV universe, the market has been cleared for some time around the NFL Network and the RedZone, both in levels of distribution and pricing, and everything else. We believe there were plenty of reasons to carry the NFL Network before this season and the RedZone; there are now even more with these 13 games which we've not asked for substantial price increases from anyone for these extra games."

Time Warner Cable VP of public relations Maureen Huff said: "We remain hopeful that we can reach a resolution. But we have been close before only to have it fall apart so we need to be cautious about predicting success."