Viewers Furious After Disney Pulls ESPN, ABC & More From

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Disney pulled its channels, including ABC and ESPN, from Charter Spectrum’s pay-TV service on Thursday evening, leaving millions of viewers without access to the big college football game between Florida Gators and Utah, the US Open Tennis, and favorites such as Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.

The decision came amid a long and tense distribution fee dispute between Disney and Charter Spectrum. When Spectrum viewers tuned into Disney channels on Thursday, they were met with a blue screen and the message, “We apologize for the inconvenience and are continuing to negotiate in good faith in order to reach a fair agreement.”

Disney Spectrum dispute message

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“We’ve been in ongoing negotiations with Charter Communications for some time and have not yet agreed to a new market-based agreement,” Disney said in a statement (per the LA Times). “As a result, their Spectrum TV subscribers no longer have access to our unrivaled portfolio of live sporting events and news coverage plus kids, family and general entertainment programming.”

Spectrum responded with their own statement on disneyespnfairdeal.com, writing, “The Walt Disney Company has removed their programming from Spectrum which creates hardship for our customers. We offered Disney a fair deal, yet they are demanding an excessive increase.”

The affected stations include local ABC affiliates, ESPN networks, FX and FXX, Freeform, National Geographic, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and more. All these channels went dark around 8 pm ET on Thursday, meaning viewers lost access to the much-anticipated college football game between the University of Utah and the University of Florida.

According to CBS News, Charter Spectrum has 14.7 million subscribers, and many of those users took to social media on Thursday night to air their frustrations.

“Will I be getting a discount on my TV bill since I pay for all of these channels and can’t watch them?” tweeted one viewer.

“I have a strong feeling that if Spectrum doesn’t fix this mess with Disney/ESPN by tomorrow, they won’t have any customers in the South…” said another.

“Billionaires fighting & the consumer gets screwed,” wrote another. “No advanced warning, My screen went blank at 8p & this message popped up. I’ll be canceling spectrum if this isn’t resolved by Sat & I’m forced to get a streaming service to watch content that I’ve already paid for.”

Check out more reaction below.

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