A financial struggle is looming between Fox News Channel and the cable and satellite providers who carry the network, with the risk of Bill O'Reilly, Shepard Smith and Sean Hannity being yanked from TV screens if talks go sour.
With Fox's 10th anniversary next week, a series of 10-year contracts with providers will begin expiring. Fox says the systems pay roughly 25 cents per subscriber each month to carry its programming. Given the network's success in the ratings, Fox is asking that these fees jump to $1.
One of the first battlegrounds is in the suburban ring around New York, where Fox's deal with Cablevision Systems Corp. expires Oct. 7. Cablevision has more than 3 million subscribers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Fox ran legal notices recently in several suburban New York newspapers warning that the network's programming "may be interrupted or terminated" soon due to the contract expiration.
"We are currently in negotiations with Fox News Channel and are hopeful of reaching an agreement," said Charles Schueler, Cablevision spokesman.