WFSB removed from Optimum cable television slate

By Phil Hall

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WFSB, the Connecticut CBS affiliate, was removed from the Optimum cable television lineup on Jan. 13 at 5 p.m. after the two companies failed to reach a retransmission consent agreement.

In a statement on its website, WFSB claimed that Optimum, which is part of Altice USA, was to blame for the problem.
“We have been trying for months to reach an agreement with Optimum from Altice,” the statement said. “So far, Optimum from Altice has rejected all of our proposals for compromise. Optimum recently combined with Altice, one of the world’s largest cable operators. WFSB may not be as important to Optimum from Altice as it was when Optimum was far smaller. But we believe WFSB is just as important to you, our viewers, no matter how large your cable company is.”

Optimum, however, put the blame on WSFB, which is owned by the Iowa-based Meredith Corp.
“Optimum wanted to keep WFSB on and offered a fair market price, higher than we pay today, to continue to carry it,” the company said in a statement on its website. “Unfortunately, that was not enough. The owners of WFSB removed their station from your lineup because we wouldn’t pay an exorbitant increase in fees for the exact same programming, even though the number of Connecticut customers that watch WFSB has consistently gone down over the past three years.”

Optimum added that it was willing to temporarily restore WFSB to its lineup for the Patriots football game, but the station declined the offer. Optimum also noted that its Fairfield County customers can view national CBS programming via the New York City affiliate WCBS while subscribers in New Haven and Litchfield Counties can receive CBS content via a digital antenna.

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About the author

Phil Hall
Phil Hall is a former United Nations-based reporter for Fairchild Broadcast News, the author of seven books, the host of the SoundCloud podcast "The Online Movie Show" and a writer with credits in The New York Times, New York Daily News and Wired.

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