Disney and Charter reach deal to return ESPN, ABC and other Disney channels to Spectrum

Following a more than 10-day ESPN and ABC station blackout that infuriated customers, Walt Disney Co. and cable giant Charter Communications reached a truce that will restore Disney channels to the Spectrum pay-TV service.

The companies ironed out a new agreement Monday morning, the two companies announces.

The breakthrough came hours before a highly anticipated “Monday Night Football” matchup on ESPN featuring quarterback Aaron Rodgers leading his new team, the New York Jets, against the Buffalo Bills. Charter’s largest market is New York City, where customers also were shut out of ESPN’s coverage for much of the U.S. Open tennis championships in Queens.

The blackout began late Aug. 31.

Pressure had been building for the two companies to reach a resolution. TV viewers were missing favorite programs, and politicians had become vocal about the companies withholding content from consumers.

“It’s simple: if you pay your cable bill, you deserve to get the services you pay for,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement Friday, urging the companies to end their dispute “as soon as possible.”

Charter executives had insisted that Disney provide it with more flexibility to carry ESPN, which is already the most expensive channel available on cable. Charter executives were also concerned by Disney’s plans to offer the main ESPN channel directly to consumers in the next couple of years, which would position the Burbank company as one of Spectrum’s biggest competitors in the video channel space.

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