Fox Sues Over Cable Shutout

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NEW YORK: Right now, if you happen to live in the largest U.S. media market, about the only way you can see the brand-new, much-ballyhooed 24-hour Fox cable news channel is by standing outside the company's Sixth Avenue studios in midtown Manhattan and looking through the windows. After being frozen out of the New York market, Fox parent company News Corp. filed suit Wednesday to force Time Warner Cable to carry the fledgling network there. Fox argues that Time Warner, under an arrangement with the FTC specifying that it would carry another cable news channel besides CNN as it merges with Turner Broadcasting, broke a prior agreement by carrying the joint Microsoft-NBC news network MSNBC in this critical market instead of Fox News. Fox chief Rupert Murdoch says he will press for a permanent injunction against Time Warner's upcoming purchase of Turner and seek monetary damages. "Every city's cable system does have in effect a monopoly," says TIME's Richard Zoglin. "Cable companies have a great deal of power over programming, but a limited number of channels. If the cable company added Fox, would Time-Warner be best serving its viewers with four 24 hour news channels? Or should the company use the space for something else? The choice between Fox or MSNBC is really a toss-up." While the cable battle rages, just head for Sixth Avenue if you want to see the latest competitor in the all-news war. Better bring a warm coat, though. -->