Weeks after settling a dispute over program carriage that temporarily left Cablevision viewers without access to the World Series and other Fox programming, executives of Cablevision and Fox Broadcasting parent News Corp. found themselves debating their respective positions again before a Senate subcommittee hearing. Lawmakers at the proceeding called for action to protect consumers who end up bearing the burden of such disputes in the form of higher rates or blocked programming. Senate Communications Subcommittee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) convened Wednesday’s hearing in the wake of the Cablevision-News Corp. retransmission impasse that, last month, left more than three million New York and Philadelphia cable households without access to Fox broadcast and cable channels for two weeks. Kerry--the sponsor of pending legislation that would require parties to keep affected channels on the air during program carriage negotiations and that would also give the FCC the power to mediate (but not arbitrate) retransmission disputes—asserted that “our constituents should not be pawns in these corporate negotiations,” as he observed that “regular everyday people [getting] caught in the middle . . . is precisely what brings us here today.” As Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) promised that his committee would also look into the related consumer issues of cable rates and cable à la carte, Senator John Ensign (R-NV) acknowledged that it “may be time to consider revising” federal law. Representatives of Cablevision and News Corp., meanwhile, clashed on the need for a legislative remedy. While arguing that legislation is not necessary as disruptions in subscriber channel access are rare, News Corp. President Chase Carey defended his company’s retransmission rate schedule as “more than fair.” Cablevision COO Tom Rutledge, meanwhile, countered that Fox’s proposed rates were excessive as he emphasized that, “because government laws and regulations created the problem, only the government—the FCC or Congress— can fix it.”