BALTIMORE -- Some football fans who pay for cable television in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, will need to make special arrangements to catch Sunday's NFL playoff game between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets. Ditto for devotees of "Grey's Anatomy" in St. Louis who want to catch Thursday night's hotly anticipated new episode.
The culprit? A financial stalemate between cable operator Mediacom Communications Corp. and Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., the owner of the CBS affiliate in Cedar Rapids and the ABC affiliate in St. Louis.
Because Sinclair did not extend its retransmission consent to Mediacom past midnight Friday, Mediacom will not carry those stations and 20 others owned or programmed by Sinclair unless Sinclair agrees to binding arbitration of a dispute over how much Mediacom should pay for the right to include the stations in its cable package.
Late Friday, Mediacom said in e-mailed statement that Sinclair "has refused to extend Mediacom's right to carry the Sinclair broadcast stations and directed Mediacom to pull the stations from the channel lineup as of midnight tonight." Mediacom also said it would provide content from other programmers on the channels previously occupied by the Sinclair stations.
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