Disney is pulling ABC, ESPN, FX and other channels from the Charter Spectrum service

The Walt Disney Company pulled its channels, including stations ABC and ESPN, from Charter Spectrum’s pay-TV service that reaches nearly 15 million subscribed homes nationwide Thursday night in a heated dispute over distribution fees.

“We have been in ongoing negotiations with Charter Communications for some time and have yet to agree on a new market-based agreement,” Disney said in a statement. “As a result, Spectrum TV subscribers can no longer access our unparalleled selection of live sports and news coverage as well as children’s, family and general entertainment programming.”

The channels — including KABC-TV channel 7 in Los Angeles, ESPN, FX, Freeform, and National Geographic — went out around 5 p.m. PST.

Spectrum subscribers immediately lost access to popular shows, including “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” and “Eyewitness News” on KABC-TV. The stop comes during the first week of the US Open tennis tournament from New York, an important event for many tennis fans, and coincides with the start of a much-anticipated college football game between Utah’s Pac-12 team, ranked No. 14 nationally, and FC Florida. Securities and exchanges. Spectrum is one of the largest cable providers in the Sunshine State.

Instead, Spectrum subscribers across the country were greeted with a blue screen with text that read: “We apologize for the inconvenience and continue to negotiate in good faith to achieve a fair agreement.”

Read more: Returning Disney CEO Bob Iger announces plans for an overhaul

Charter Spectrum is the largest provider of pay-TV in the Los Angeles area. The service has more than 5 million customers in California and nearly 15 million customers nationwide.

It is unclear how long the hiatus might last, but the start of college and professional football could act as a catalyst for the two sides to come to an agreement.

ESPN and ABC are scheduled to broadcast at least 10 college football games featuring the top 25 teams from Thursday through Monday, during the first full weekend of the season — causing concern among Spectrum football fans.

In the last years, Channel outages are becoming more frequent While cable companies struggle to maintain the expense line. Cable and satellite TV operators fear that skyrocketing prices will only encourage additional subscribers to switch to lower-cost streaming services.

Instead, distributors, including Charter, have tried to negotiate with programmers, including Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Paramount Global, to secure the ability to offer packages with fewer channels, including fewer sports channels, in a campaign. To retain customers.

The Walt Disney Company pulled its channels, including ABC and ESPN, from Charter Spectrum's pay-TV service Thursday.

Instead, Spectrum subscribers trying to watch Disney-owned channels, including ABC and ESPN, were greeted with a message about negotiations. (Ileana Limón Romero/Los Angeles Times)

ESPN has always been among the most expensive channels available in the cable lineup. For many customers, ESPN is a must-have channel, and this has given Disney the ability to franchise sports channels.

“We are disappointed with The Walt Disney Company’s decision to remove its networks from our lineup,” Charter said Thursday in a statement. “We will agree to a significant price increase for The Walt Disney Company despite its declining ratings. But they are trying to force our customers to pay for their expensive programming, even those customers who don’t want to, or worse, can’t afford to.”

Charter Spectrum’s outages aren’t the only ongoing dispute over cable fees. Since early July, DirecTV customers have been without service Nexstar TV stations, including KTLA-TV channel 5 In Los Angeles.

Read more: LA station KTLA was dropped from DirecTV amid nationwide power outages

Charter said it will hold a conference call with investors on Friday to discuss the Disney dispute.

In its statement, Disney said it was “committed to reaching a mutually agreed resolution with the charter.”

“The current video ecosystem is broken,” Charter said in its statement. “With The Walt Disney Company, we have proposed a model that creates better alignment for the industry and better choices for our customers. We hope we can find a way forward.”

Sports editor Eliana Limón Romero contributed to this report.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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