The 13-month standoff between cable provider Comcast Corp. and Fox has ended, granting Comcast customers in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey access again to the YES Network, TV home of the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Nets.
Key to ending the stalemate was the Dec. 31 expiration of the carriage deal between the Philadelphia-based provider – whose most visible presence in the county is that of its NBC Sports subsidiary in Stamford – and the Fox News Channel. Though there was plenty of grousing among sports fans last year when the Yankees vanished from Comcast, that would likely have been peanuts when compared with viewers’ complaints about losing such programming as “The O’Reilly Factor” and “Shepard Smith Reporting.”
Fox was able to leverageFoxNews Channel’s strength in a way that it couldn’t with YES. Financial details of the Comcast agreement were not disclosed, but the deal also includes agreements for 12 other Fox-owned regional cable networks. The pact does not, however, include the Fox Business Network, whose contract has not yet expired.
“We always said that we would continue to evaluate whether there was a way to bring back the YES Network under terms that are consistent with our commitment to providing the best programming at the best possible price,” Comcast said in a statement.
Comcast is the nation’s largest cable provider, with roughly 22 million video, 23 million Internet, and 11 million phone customers.
Meanwhile, talks are continuing between Charter Spectrum and the Comcast-owned NBCUniversal over their carriage fees; Stamford-based Charter’s contract with NBCUniversal – which includes NBC networks, Bravo and Telemundo, among others – expired on Dec. 31, but talks are ongoing.
In a touch of irony, Megyn Kelly – one of Fox News’ biggest stars – is moving over to NBC, where she will host an hour-long daytime program, it was announced today. Host of Fox’s “The Kelly File,” the anchor’s profile was raised considerably last year during a contentious exchange with Donald Trump during the Aug. 6 Republican primary and her later role in corroborating the behavior of Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by another Fox News personality, Gretchen Carlson.
Ailes ultimately resigned from the company, but according to reports other senior Fox executives took a dim view of Kelly’s involvement in the situation.