http://telegram.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051222/NEWS/512220628/1009/SPORTS Thursday, December 22, 2005 NFL Network pulled from Charter lineup By Bill Doyle TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF firstname.lastname@example.org The NFL Network forced Charter Communications on Monday to stop offering the NFL Network and the NFL on Demand to its digital cable subscribers throughout the nation, due to a contract dispute. A message posted on both channels in Worcester County states that they have been discontinued Ã¢â‚¬Å“due to a declining demand.Ã¢â‚¬ A press release e-mailed to the T&G by Charter spokesman Bob Spain said the NFL Network Ã¢â‚¬Å“did not gain the customers we had hoped for,Ã¢â‚¬ and neither did the NFL on Demand, which airs NFL highlights. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We regret that there was not enough interest in this programming for the network to continue providing the signal to Charter,Ã¢â‚¬ the release stated. In a telephone interview, Seth Palansky, public relations director for the NFL Network, called that assertion false. Palansky pointed out that the NFL Network joined TNT as the only cable network to be available in more than 35 million homes within its first two years and is the fastest growing cable network of the past decade. Spain called availability and viewership two different things. While the NFL Network was available to several hundred thousand households in Worcester County via the digital sports tier, Spain said Ã¢â‚¬Å“most chose not to receive it.Ã¢â‚¬ Palansky said the NFL Network forced Charter to stop carrying it on Monday because Charter failed to live up to its contract. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We hated that we got to this point,Ã¢â‚¬ Palansky said in a statement. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We spent more than a year working with Charter to try to resolve this matter, but as a result of the continuing breach of contract, we were left with no choice but to terminate.Ã¢â‚¬ CharterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s release stated that the NFL Network notified Charter last Friday of its intent to part with them on Monday after the network and the cable company Ã¢â‚¬Å“had worked to settle certain contractual disagreements and met with an impasse.Ã¢â‚¬ Neither side wanted to add much to their official statements. Palansky refused to say how Charter had breached its contract, but he was not optimistic that the NFL Network would return to Charter soon. Spain said Charter will not replace the NFL Network with another network on the sports tier, but hoped a deal could be struck to resume carrying it in the future. The NFL Network will continue to be offered through 110 other distributors, including close to 100 cable systems. Football fans in Worcester County can still receive the NFL Network through satellite TV. In February of 2004, Charter became the first cable company in the nation to offer the NFL Network. Previously, the network had been offered only via satellite dish. The NFL Network, a 24-7 network about the NFL, carries mostly studio shows and highlight programs, but it is among the cable networks interested in landing an eight-game NFL package on Thursday and Saturday nights in the second half of next season.