Cable network Fuse says it is being dropped by Comcast, effective Dec. 31
Fuse said it has not received an explanation for the decision from the cable operator, but complains that he decision runs contrary to the promises Comcast has made about making a commitment to support diverse and independently-owned programmers.
In a statement, Michael Schwimmer, CEO of Fuse, said dropping the network comes after Comcast was freed from the consent decree it agreed when it acquired NBCUniversal. The decree was designed to ensure that Comcast treated networks it didn’t own fairly.
Update: Fuse on Monday said Verizon Fios also was dropping the channel as of Dec. 31. Fios, which on Dec. 28 dropped BlazeTV, also has warned customers it is facing a possible loss of Tegna TV stations as of 5 p.m. Dec. 31.
Fuse has been carried by Comcast for 10 years and says that its ratings are up among young viewers at a time when cable networks overall are down. Fuse also noted that its viewership is nearly three-quarters multicultural.
Comcast confirmed it was dropping Fuse.
“We regularly evaluate our channel lineups and sometimes make changes to ensure we’re offering customers a wide variety of the content that they want to see at the best value," Comcast said in a statement. "In this case, much of the content carried by Fuse is similar to content that is also available on other networks. We understand that some customers may find Fuse’s programming of interest, and we will work with them to find options that will help them continue to watch other content like this programming.”
Here is the full statement from Fuse president Michael Schwimmer:
Despite Comcast’s publicly-stated commitment to support diverse and independently operated networks, Comcast has elected to drop Fuse, a multicultural-focused television network, on December 31, after more than a decade of carriage. This decision is both surprising and troubling considering that Fuse met Comcast's financial demands and no other requirements were ever communicated to us.
A commitment to diversity is an enduring value, not a politically expedient card for Comcast to play until such time as consent decrees or business objectives no longer require it. Comcast’s behavior leading to its decision to drop Fuse reveals an agenda inconsistent with their public statements, giving further credence to the merit of on-going DOJ oversight.”
We have been dedicated from the very beginning to providing opportunities for diverse creative talent to entertain and inform diverse communities. By removing our network from its consumer offering, Comcast is silencing yet another independent media company, in this case one that is devoted to providing a platform for inclusive voices and authentic representation at a uniquely important time in our society.
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Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.