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Interim Stay Granted

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Released: May 2, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-703

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

The Tennis Channel, Inc.,
)
MB Docket No. 10-204
Complainant
)
)

File No. CSR-8258-P
v.
)
)

Comcast Cable Communications, LLC,
)
Defendant
)

Order

Adopted: May 2, 2012

Released: May 2, 2012

By the General Counsel:
1.
On December 20, 2011, the Chief Administrative Law Judge issued an Initial Decision in
this proceeding granting a complaint filed by The Tennis Channel, Inc. against Comcast Cable
Communications, LLC.1 The Tennis Channel seeks an order compelling Comcast’s immediate
compliance with the Initial Decision.2 Comcast opposes this request and seeks a conditional stay of the
Initial Decision.3
2.
The Initial Decision concludes that Comcast violated sections 616 of the
Communications Act and 76.1301(c) of the Commission’s rules4 by unreasonably discriminating against
The Tennis Channel with respect to the terms and conditions of its carriage by Comcast’s cable systems.5
As a result, the Initial Decision orders Comcast to pay a forfeiture of $375,000 and carry The Tennis
Channel on the same tier as Comcast’s affiliated sports programming networks, Golf Channel and Versus
(now NBC Sports Network).6 In addition, the Initial Decision requires Comcast to afford The Tennis


1 The Tennis Channel, Inc. v. Comcast Cable Commc’ns, LLC, Initial Decision of Chief Administrative Law Judge
Richard L. Sippel, MB Docket No. 10-204, File No. CSR 8258-P, 26 FCC Rcd 17160 (2011) (Initial Decision).
2 The Tennis Channel, Inc., Petition to Compel Comcast’s Compliance with Initial Decision, MB Docket No. 10-
204, File No. CSR 8258-P (filed Jan. 13, 2012).
3 Comcast Cable Communications, LLC, Opposition to Tennis Channel’s Petition to Compel Comcast’s Compliance
with Initial Decision (filed Jan. 25, 2012); Comcast Cable Communications, LLC, Comcast’s Conditional Petition
for Stay (filed Jan. 25, 2012); see also The Tennis Channel, Inc., Opposition to Comcast’s Conditional Petition for
Stay (filed Feb. 6, 2012); FCC Enforcement Bureau, Enforcement Bureau’s Comments on Conditional Petition for
Stay (filed Feb. 6, 2012); Comcast Cable Communications, LLC, Motion for Acceptance of Comcast’s Reply to
Tennis Channel’s Opposition to Comcast’s Conditional Petition for Stay (filed Feb. 10, 2012); The Tennis Channel,
Inc., Opposition to Motion for Acceptance of Comcast’s Reply, or in the Alternative, Request for Leave to File
Surreply (filed Feb. 14, 2012).
4 47 U.S.C. § 536; 47 C.F.R. § 76.1301(c).
5 Initial Decision at ¶¶ 105-116.
6 Id. at ¶¶ 117-119, 121.

Federal Communications Commission

DA 12-703

Channel “equitable treatment (vis-à-vis Golf Channel and Versus) as to channel placement.”7 Comcast
has filed exceptions to the Initial Decision as well as an application for review of the earlier hearing
designation order (HDO) that led to the ALJ’s decision.8 The Tennis Channel asserts that, under the
Commission’s rules and the terms of the HDO,9 the Initial Decision became effective on release.10
Comcast asserts that, by its own terms, the Initial Decision was automatically stayed by Comcast’s filing
of exceptions, but it seeks a stay in the event the Commission determines otherwise, claiming, among
other things, that it would be irreversibly harmed in the absence of a stay.11
3.
Chairman Genachowski has circulated to his fellow Commissioners a proposed order
addressing The Tennis Channel’s petition to compel compliance and Comcast’s petition for conditional
stay. To remove the existing uncertainty about Comcast’s obligations while the Commissioners consider
that item, we hereby stay the Initial Decision on our own motion pending the Commission’s action on the
parties’ petitions.12
4.
Accordingly,

IT IS ORDERED

that, pursuant to sections 4(i), 4(j), and 616 of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 154(i), 154(j), and 536, and sections 76.10(c)(2),
76.1301, and 76.1302 of the Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. §§ 76.10(c)(2), 76.1301-1302, the Initial
Decision

IS STAYED

until the effective date of a Commission order on the Petition to Compel
Comcast’s Compliance with Initial Decision filed by The Tennis Channel, Inc. and the Conditional
Petition for Stay filed by Comcast Cable Communications, LLC in this proceeding.
5.
This action is taken pursuant to authority delegated by Section 0.251(c) of the
Commission’s rules, 47 C.F.R. § 0.251(c).
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Austin C. Schlick
General Counsel
Office of General Counsel


7 Id. at ¶ 120.
8 Comcast Cable Communications, LLC, Exceptions to Initial Decision (filed Jan. 19, 2012); Comcast Cable
Communications, LLC, Application for Review of Comcast Cable Communications, LLC (filed Jan. 19, 2012); see
also
The Tennis Channel, Inc., Reply to Exceptions to Initial Decision (filed Feb. 6, 2012); The Tennis Channel,
Inc., Opposition to Application for Review (filed Feb. 6, 2012).
9 The Tennis Channel v. Comcast Cable Commc’ns, LLC, Hearing Designation Order and Notice of Opportunity for
Hearing for Forfeiture, 25 FCC Rcd 14149, 14163 n.119 (MB 2010) (“[u]nless the Commission grants a stay of the
ALJ’s decision, such decision will become effective upon release and will remain in effect pending appeal.”).
10 Petition to Compel at 3-7 (citing HDO at n.119 and 47 C.F.R. §§ 76.10(c)(2), 76.1302(j)(1)).
11 Opposition to Tennis Channel’s Petition to Compel Comcast’s Compliance with Initial Decision at 6-9;
Conditional Petition for Stay at 5-7; see Initial Decision, supra note 1, at n.361 (“This Initial Decision shall become
effective and this proceeding shall be terminated 50 days after release if exceptions are not filed within 30 days
thereafter, unless the Commission elects to review the case of its own motion. 47 C.F.R. § 1.276(b).”).
12 To the extent it is necessary to do so, we also waive 47 C.F.R. § 76.1302(j)(1), which provides that Initial
Decisions mandating program carriage become effective upon release unless compliance would require the deletion
of programming; see id. § 1.3 (Commission may waive any rule on its own motion for good cause).
2

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