Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

January 7, 2013

Suddenlink gets a week reprieve in Fox TV negotiations

Viewers continued to stay divided over Suddenlink 'autotune' commercial

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — Viewer alert: Football, Family Guy and long-running Suddenlink commercials will continue to air on the local Fox affiliate for at least one more week.

This very nearly came to an abrupt halt this week, when contract negotiations broke down between Suddenlink and New Corp/Fox for the continued carrying of TV stations and cable networks.

Subsequently, KFXK, Fox 51, in Longview was in danger of becoming unavailable – which would have affected viewers in Jacksonville, Tyler, Athens and Rusk, officials said.

But cooler heads prevailed. On Thursday, the existing agreement between both companies was extended for another week while higher-ups worked out the specifics of a new arrangement, according to Gene Regan, Suddenlink's director of corporate communications.

Had this extension not taken place, the most immediate effect would have been to stop local viewing of Friday’s Cotton Bowl between Texas A&M and Oklahoma and Sunday’s Redskins-Seahawks playoff game.

For those who are not sports fans, this also means viewers would have been unable to watch Family Guy and The Simpsons on Sunday.

Bones and Ben & Kate  would not have been seen Monday, and the Mindy Project and Glee would have been no-shows on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively," the programming schedule shows.

But the problem is expected to evaporate once officials hash out the necessary extended contract details.

Along with these Fox shows, expect  as well to continue seeing Suddenlink's "Autotune" television commercial ad.

This commercial, crafted by Dallas-based TV commercial director Tom Denolf, has developed a bit of a polarizing influence on the Internet. Several viewers describe the commercial as 1.03 minutes of unabashed, cheesy goodness. Others despise it completely.

It provides glimpses of Suddenlink employees working together and speaking directly to viewers.  Their voices are digitized at certain points for emphasis – much like they would be doing in a song by Kanye West.

Responses to the commercial posted on YouTube range from "adorable" to "When will Suddenlink get a new commercial?" to "I sing along with them" to "I HATE you, Suddenlink."