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Losing Lease, 5th Ave. Shuts Down Network

Fifth Avenue Channel's Corp.'s cable programming days are over-at least for now.

Last month, Globecast America kicked the financial-news purveyor out of a leased Miami, Fla., broadcast facility, the company disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

"On Nov. 15, the company's staff was prevented from entering the NFN ( Net Financial News
) program studio by a lockout action taken by the landlord," 5th Avenue told the SEC. But through a spokesperson, Globecast CEO Robert Behar offered a different story.

"They were not locked out. They were told not to come back because they were behind on their contractual obligations," Behar said. 5th Avenue executives were allowed in to retrieve equipment, he added.

Fifth Avenue CEO Mel Rosen didn't return calls last week.

It's been a rocky year for 5th Avenue Channel, which entered the cable scene in 1998 with plans for a luxury-goods infomercial channel featuring Ivana Trump.

The parking lot outside Globecast's facility was an alleged crime scene on May 31. Former 5th Avenue executive vice president of television Ron Wishna claimed that "two men portrayed as mobsters" approached him at that time, warning him not to release information regarding ex-convict Eric Lefkowitz, 5th Avenue's executive vice president, according to a temporary restraining order Wishna obtained.

In March, 5th Avenue launched Net Video Networks, termed a financial-news network, with a single program, Net Financial News
. Comcast Corp.'s regional channel CN8: The Comcast Network agreed to carry it.

But after a dispute with 5th Avenue, Comcast shifted the show onto overflow channels available to about 2 million subscribers. In October, the MSO dropped the program for nonpayment, said Comcast spokesman David Shane.

In August, America's Voice, which distributed 5th Avenue's financial-news program to 11 million subscribers, also dropped the program for nonpayment, former America's Voice CEO Robert Sutton said at the time.

Following a bankruptcy-court asset sale, the new owners of America's Voice pulled the network's plug in October, after EchoStar Communications Corp.'s Dish Network dropped it.

Fifth Avenue then cut a deal in November with Allnewsco Inc.'s NewsChannel 8 regional cable channel to distribute NFN
to its 1.2 million subscribers in metropolitan Washington, D.C. But NewsChannel 8 vice president of news and programming Wayne Lynch said 5th Avenue delivered the program for just seven days, leading up to Nov. 15, the day of the lockout.

"I elected to terminate the agreement based on their indication that they could not guarantee that the program could be provided in the future," Lynch said.

Last June, 5th Avenue disclosed the SEC was considering recommending the launch of a public administrative proceeding against the company and CEO Rosen for making misrepresentations in SEC filings and press releases.

The NASDAQ exchange may also be on the verge of de-listing the company's stock. A NASDAQ spokesman said it typically warns companies they face possible de-listing after a stock closes below $1 for 30 consecutive days. 5th Avenue hasn't met that criteria since it closed at $1 on June 28.

Falling from an $8.13-high on March 3, 5th Avenue closed at 31 cents last Thursday.