An Open Letter to ABC and Cablevision,

My name is Robert Lee, and I like to watch TV.  While I’m not a cablevision subscriber, I am a subscriber in New Jersey to another premium television service, and the thought of losing the access to ABC to watch Lost is terrifying.

I’m a pretty good mediator.  On two separate occasions while living in NYC I’ve talked my way out of a mugging.  On one occasion I was on a subway platform at about 2am.  A man that was asleep when I first entered had snuck up behind me so silently that a ninja would be impressed and held a rusty razor to my throat.  But the joke was on him!  I didn’t have any money!  He was at his wits end.  I had drank a few.  He was high.  He began to tell me how hard it was living in the city.  I concurred and told him he should try going to school here.  It turned out we lived about three blocks from each other over on 25th St.  I casually backed away from him as I told him “Y’know, I don’t want to take the subway.  I feel like getting some air and walking.”  He apologized for the whole mugging thing as I walked off.    On my way out, I found a cop and directed him to the razor-wielding lunatic on the platform.  After my second almost-but-not-quite a mugging, the would-be-mugger kept hugging me as I tried to walk away. He was thanking me for listening to him.  I’m a pretty good listener and an expert talker.

So, ABC and Cablevision, what the F#@K is the problem?

Are you really going to keep New Yorkers from watching Lost?  I’m not really a Desperate Housewives guy, but Lost?!?  According to “Cablevision subscribers pay up to $18 a month for access to ABC 7.”   That statement is a little misleading.  They make it sound like it is $18 a month just for ABC, when in fact each of the 3.1 million subscribers pay $18 each month for all Network TV, including ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, etc.  Further, claims “There’s a secret Cablevision does not want you to know. You pay more than 500 million dollars a year for access to ABC 7.”  That does seem like a bit much.  Is Cablevision that greedy?  Is their boss Charles Widmore?  Wait.  Something just isn’t making sense here.   The math looks a little off.  I’m sitting at a computer, so lets crunch these numbers:

3.1 million Cablevision Subscribers

x 18 bucks per month


$55,800,000  – This is what Cablevision makes from  $18 per subscriber.

That is not $500,000,000.00.  Where did the other $444,200,000.00 come from?  This $500,000,000.00 claim reminds me of many bets that I made in my youth with my best friend Dennis.  They stakes were generally in the ballpark of a hundred million dollars and usually involved arguments such as whether or not Superman could beat the crap out of Peter Pan, or who’s funnier Eddie Murphy in Raw or Eddie Murphy in Trading Places.  Those debates seemed significantly more mature than the current issue at hand.

Over at, Cablevision claims that they “already pay ABC’s parent company more than $200 million per year to carry its channels; now ABC wants a 20 percent fee increase for exactly the same programming.”  Further, Cablevision says “It is wrong for ABC to demand $40 million in new fees to help pay the salaries and bonuses for top ABC executives.”  Good point.  And, “Cablevision has tried in good faith to reach a fair agreement with ABC. In fact, top Cablevision executives traveled to ABC offices in California earlier this month, and had lengthy face-to-face meetings this week in Bethpage and New York City. We have made numerous proposals, all of which have been rejected.”

So, it seems the real problem is the 20% or $40,000,000.00 increase in fees that Cablevision is supposed to pay to ABC/Disney.

So, who is right and who is wrong?  Who is Dogen, and who is (F)Locke?  Somebody here is telling a tall-tale, and it better be sorted out soon.  I offer my services to act as mediator.  We can all meet in Disney World.  I am fond of the Beach Club Resort, which is adjacent to the World Showcase of EPCOT center.  The price for my mediation will be a suite along with a length of stay pass, and it better be a park hopper.

If you choose to allow me to mediate this dispute, I can guarantee that we will all come to a mutually benefiting accord for both sides, and have time to go and see the Hoop Dee Doo Revue.


Robert Lee

Why fight when we could all be Hoop Dee Doo-ing it?