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Cablevision offer: Can New York avoid World Series blackout?

Cablevision made a last-ditch offer to Fox Wednesday to lift a blackout that threatens to keep 3 million of its customers from watching the World Series.

A Philadelphia Phillies player practices in front of an advertisement for postseason baseball on Fox in San Francisco Oct. 18. A dispute between Fox and Cablevision has left 3 million cable subscribers in the New York area without Fox programming. On Wednesday, hours before the World Series was to begin, Cablevision made a new offer to Fox.

Jeff Chiu/AP

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With baseball's World Series hours away from starting, Cablevision Systems Corp. said Wednesday that it has made a new offer to Fox to pay for signals from Fox 5 in New York and Fox 29 in Philadelphia for one year.

Cablevision said in a statement it is willing to pay the same rate as Time Warner Cable Inc. is paying for the stations, even though it is more than it pays for any other New York broadcast station.

Fox, a unit of News Corp., did not immediately respond.

About 3 million Cablevision subscribers, mostly in New York, have been without Fox signals since Oct. 16.

On Tuesday, Cablevision CEO James Dolan sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genakowski urging him to mediate the dispute, and saying he was ready to come to Washington, D.C., with "new, constructive offers."

While welcoming the new offer, a senior FCC official had called the letter a publicity stunt and told Cablevision to "stop the stunts and start negotiating."

Cablevision told the FCC earlier that Fox had demanded that Cablevision pay the same rate as Time Warner Cable for Fox 5 because of a previous deal that guaranteed Time Warner Cable would pay the lowest rate offered to any other distributor. If Fox dropped the rate, it would have to return money to Time Warner Cable, Cablevision said.

News Corp.'s widely traded Class A shares were down 6 cents at $14.25 in midday trading Wednesday, while Cablevision shares rose 10 cents to $26.58.


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