Charter and Disney announce deal, restore programming to Spectrum customers

By on September 1, 2023

Update: After a pricing and carriage standoff led to a blackout of ESPN and about two dozen other Disney-owned networks for Charter Spectrum cable subscribers, the two companies announced, on Sept. 11, an agreement to end the impasse. Read the joint statement here. The Walt Disney Company and Charter Communications Announce Transformative Agreement for Distribution of Disney’s Linear Networks and Direct-To-Consumer Services – The Walt Disney Company


Spectrum customers lose ESPN, other Disney channels, in pricing dispute

Right before the 8 p.m. kickoff of the Aug. 31 Utah-Florida college football game on ESPN, Charter Spectrum cable viewers saw something strange. The screen went completely dark.

The blackout is the result of a dispute over pricing between the giant cable company and the giant content provider that comes just as the college and professional football seasons are upon us. It includes the ESPN channels as well as other parts of the 26 Disney-owned networks, such as FX and the National Geographic Channel. (See list below).

In an email to the Voice, a Charter spokesperson wrote that “We are disappointed with The Walt Disney Company’s decision to remove their networks from our lineup and deny our customers the opportunity to watch.

“We would agree to The Walt Disney Company’s significant rate increase despite their declining ratings. But they are trying to force our customers to pay for their very expensive programming, even those customers who don’t want it or worse, can’t afford it.

“The current video ecosystem is broken. With The Walt Disney Company, we have proposed a model that creates better alignment for the industry and better choices for our customers. We are hopeful we can find a path forward.”

In a statement reported by several media outlets, Disney said that “Disney Entertainment has successful deals in place with pay TV providers of all types and sizes across the country, and the rates and terms we are seeking in this renewal are driven by the marketplace. We’re committed to reaching a mutually agreed upon resolution with Charter and we urge them to work with us to minimize the disruption to their customers.”

In remarks delivered on the morning of Friday, Sept. 1, Charter Communications President and CEO Chris Winfrey said that the Disney dispute was reflective of larger turmoil and uncertainty in the fragmenting industry.

“The video ecosystem is broken,” he asserted. “We’re on the edge of a precipice.”

In the meantime, this is becoming a tough year for cable sports fans. At the beginning of the 2023 baseball season, it was learned that Charter Spectrum would no longer carry MASN (Mid-Atlantic Sports Network), which broadcasts both Washington Nationals and Baltimore Oriole games in the region.

In discussing its decision not to renew MASN at the time, the cable company stated that “The Regional Sports Network (RSN) business is a financially distressed and broken business model.”

(A fuller list of Disney networks: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU, ESPN News, SEC Network, ACC Network, Longhorn Network, FX, FX Movie Channel, FXX, Freeform, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Mundo, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, BabyTV.)



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  • Big Daddy

    directv has not had NBC or FOX for over 2 months in my area….I don’t think it means alot tothem but I’m done paying them my money

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 10:46 am
  • Big Daddy

    I forgot to add I left Spectrum when they refused to carry the Orioles game, just shut them off with no notice or a howdy-do…web=nt to Directv streaming and I’m very happy with them but no FOX or WAVY 10(NBC) is ridiculous ….for two months is crazy

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 10:52 am
  • Dylan

    This will make me cut the cable if it persists next week.

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 11:28 am
  • WindyBill

    Directv also has no NC news channels except maybe at extra cost for us on the Outer Banks.
    Spectrum, for all its faults, has a competent NC news and weather service included. Basicly, I think all the “You’ll watch what we offer and like it” services are dying as streaming becomes much more widespread, and good ridance. There are several streaming services with many programs for well under $20./month.

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 2:54 pm
  • Bob

    I cut spectrum in Feb. I went to streaming Roko. I get more channels for less money. As far as getting wavy and Fox fubo has them and college football for a lot less than cable and directv

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 4:37 pm
  • surf123

    Big Daddy and @Dylan…while not optimal for viewing be thankful they are not just paying without hard negotiations. As Spectrum says cableTV as we know it is on life support. The media owners also do not realize their products are not as valuable as they think they are. While anecdotal I do not know anyone under 16 who watches TV other than occasionally. If it does not stream then they do not care. The gouging by the media owners works by forcing a block of 20 channels onto Spectrum with no way to buy what Spectrum wants to be. They also go so far as to dictate which channels have to be in the packages Spectrum sells. This is why most cable providers cheapest channel package includes ESPN. The networks and other than mainstream cable channels will be long gone in less than 20 years.

    Friday, Sep 1 @ 6:22 pm
  • Joan mcminn

    Think spectrum is getting too big for their pants and those that get greedy end up loosing the battle. Dish network will have these so we r considering switching. I like my sports channels during basketball season and I WILL NOT PAY EXTRA a to get these channels wake up spectrum and treat your customers right

    Saturday, Sep 2 @ 9:49 am
  • Buck

    2 yrs ago MASN was dropped, now ESPN, ACCN etc.–I have 1 smart & 2 dumb tvs–streaming? really considering of going to DISH—I need help-ok to go to DISH?–I can handle a few storms-friends speak highly of it–live in AVON-have had Charter-Spectrum since the beginning-1980’s?

    Saturday, Sep 2 @ 10:26 am
  • Michael

    I’m usually critical of spectrum and I’m definitely not a fan, but this is because Disney and espn have been struggling . Im sure you have but espn has fired tons of talent because of money issues. Ratings have declined over the years. Whether it’s because of there political agendas now instead of sports? You can decide,but they have been struggling. So they are trying to find extra money. This one isn’t spectrums fault surprisingly.

    Saturday, Sep 2 @ 3:21 pm
  • Carol Wallis

    We have had Direct TV for@ 15 years or Longer
    & I hate that I Cannot See NBC NOR Fox !
    Does Anyone Know when this ‘foolishness will Stop’ ??
    My Cable Bill is NOT Discounted for the Missing Channels !!
    Huh !! Carol in Avon ☺♥

    Sunday, Sep 3 @ 5:21 pm
  • Adam

    If you’re reading this and still paying for cable stop. It’s 2023. You’ve been getting ripped off for decades by these companies. Learn how to use the internet and you can watch whatever you want.

    Monday, Sep 4 @ 7:02 am
  • Catfish27954

    The only thing Spectrum is good for is their internet service however Brightspeed (formerly Century Link) is moving forward with it’s own fiber optic internet service. Choice is good, completion is good. As far as cable TV goes, over the years I’ve had Cox, Direct TV, Verizon and finally Spectrum. The game is always the same, start you out with a low rate and then the gouging begins.

    Monday, Sep 4 @ 11:37 am
  • Chuck Sullivan

    I wouldn’t give you 2 cents extra for Disney. Spectrum is unbeatable around here for real high-speed internet. Cell service is ok, everywhere but in my house. A pretty sad state of affairs, all in all. Dish and Direct are ok with TV, but internet is crappy. Just not much to choose from. Welcome to coastal living. lol

    Monday, Sep 11 @ 2:15 pm
  • surf123

    @Chuck Sullivan Dish nor DirecTV offer internet service with their TV setup. There are two satellite internet providers that are crap and Starlink which works. The issue here is the way cable and network channels are bundled. If you want ABC then you have to pay for all of the other Disney channels and it is a lot including Discovery, National Geographic, Freeform, ESPN, History, Lifetime, A&E, ACC Network, SEC Network, others and the various Disney network channels. The way all of the conglomerates operate is an all, or close to all, or none. With Disney the sticking point is forcing all subscribers to pay for the ESPN channels. This whole model is on the way out as cable companies run out of customers and are left serving Internet. The hope is they will keep their hands off it and just sell the service with no extras as no one needs their extras.

    Monday, Sep 11 @ 4:56 pm
  • surf123

    Brightstar only offers DSL where I am located, but they have a bonded DSL service that delivers more than enough Internet for two adults. No problem watching Netflix other streaming service while browsing on my iPad or watching YouTube videos. Don’t let the nieces and nephews in as they will destroy the bandwidth on me. Moving soon and though it is just two miles down the road it is too far for bonded DSL so it looks like Starlink.

    Monday, Sep 11 @ 4:59 pm
  • trocar

    If you do not have Charter or have a streaming service you can download the WITN app through VU IT and watch all live news casts.

    Tuesday, Sep 12 @ 8:52 am
  • MikeOBX

    That issue was the final strike for Charter. A few months ago, when they decided that MASN wasn’t worth the trouble and dropped them, is took away Baseball. Going through almost the entire summer without access to the Orioles in their breakthrough year was bad but the pissing contest with Disney was the final straw.
    I dropped Charter and seem to be getting along just fine.

    Friday, Sep 15 @ 5:41 am
  • Robert Schaible

    I canned them because of MASN and TCM, you can get MASN thru Direct tv

    Friday, Sep 15 @ 11:34 am