Disney, Charter Standoff Ends Just In Time For Jets, 'Jeopardy!'

To the relief of millions, the Disney-Charter standoff ended just in time for the season premiere of “Jeopardy”! Monday night.

Oh, and there was also that football game that featured the year’s biggest sports story -- new Jet quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffering a season-ending injury on his fourth play as a Jet.

Not since the second Dempsey-Tunney fight has the world seen the kind of hype that surrounded the 39-year-old, future Hall of Famer’s first game as a New York Jet.

He was positioned in all media as the Jets’ savior who was supposed to lead the team all the way to its first Super Bowl victory since Joe Namath did it the first time in 1969.

But that hope was dashed less than 12 minutes into the first quarter of Monday night’s Jets vs. Bills game ushering in the new season of “Monday Night Football” on ESPN.



After months of media hype -- including this summer’s edition of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” featuring Rodgers and the Jets in training camp -- Rodgers was injured and pulled from the game Monday night when he was sacked by the Bills’ Leonard Floyd on only the fourth snap taken by the former Packers star as a New York Jet. 

On Tuesday, the team announced that Rodgers tore his Achilles tendon and would be out for the entire season. The Jets went on to win in overtime without him. 

In 20-20 hindsight, some disappointed Jets fans might have wished the game hadn’t aired at all, but it does seem that the game may have been the impetus for Disney and Charter to finally settle their carriage dispute earlier in the day on Monday.

It was one of the most anticipated NFL season openers in years and neither company could benefit by denying it to audiences in New York, where Charter’s Spectrum cable subsidiary is the dominant cable TV provider. 

The game would have been unavailable to New Yorkers in two ways. Like every other Disney cable channel, ESPN had been blacked out in New York City since the standoff between the two companies began on August 24.

But the game was also seen on Disney-owned WABC-TV Monday night in New York. This too would not have been possible if the dispute had not been resolved because Channel 7 was also blacked out.

The return of Channel 7 on Monday after just shy of three weeks off the air was especially welcome. 

It sometimes seems as if everybody in the TV business regards the local TV station segment of their industry to be a few steps away from death’s door, but to ordinary people who watch TV, this is not the case.

WABC-TV’s local newscasts have long dominated the market, and the station is home to, among other shows, “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” weekdays at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Eastern.

“Jeopardy!” was back for the premiere of its 38th season Monday night with the start of one of the show’s “Second Chance” tournaments in which former contestants who lost their matches by very narrow margins last season were invited back to compete against each other.

The “Jeopardy! Second Chance” tournament is sponsored by Moderna, whose name will appear throughout the tournament on studio signage and on the contestants’ podiums in “Final Jeopardy!”

The start of the “Jeopardy!” season with the Moderna brand on prominent display happened to coincide with the announcement earlier in the day that the Food and Drug Administration had approved the company’s new COVID-19 vaccine.

The season premiere of “Wheel of Fortune,” however, was preempted Monday night in New York by a half-hour of Aaron Rodgers hype leading into the Jets-Bills game, which kicked off a little after 8 p.m. Eastern.

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