Verizon, Comcast Drop Fuse


Verizon Fios and Comcast have dropped the multicultural-focused network Fuse, owned in part by Jennifer Lopez.

Verizon FiOS dropped the Fuse channel on December 31, as did Comcast after more than a decade of carriage.

Michael Schwimmer, president and CEO of Fuse Media, said: “Despite Comcast’s publicly-stated commitment to support diverse and independently operated networks, Comcast has elected to drop Fuse, a multicultural-focused television network, on December 31, after more than a decade of carriage. This decision is both surprising and troubling considering that Fuse met Comcast’s financial demands and no other requirements were ever communicated to us.

“A commitment to diversity is an enduring value, not a politically expedient card for Comcast to play until such time as consent decrees or business objectives no longer require it. Comcast’s behavior leading to its decision to drop Fuse reveals an agenda inconsistent with their public statements, giving further credence to the merit of on-going DOJ oversight.”

Schwimmer added, “We have been dedicated from the very beginning to providing opportunities for diverse creative talent to entertain and inform diverse communities. By removing our network from its consumer offering, Comcast is silencing yet another independent media company, in this case one that is devoted to providing a platform for inclusive voices and authentic representation at a uniquely important time in our society.”

As for the spat with Verizon, Fuse said that the final offer from the cable provider “contained terms Verizon Fios understood were unacceptable.” It added that the impact of Verizon Fios’s decision will be “a low single-digit reduction of Fuse’s distribution versus 2018 levels.”

“This is another instance of one of our nation’s largest telecommunications companies taking action inconsistent with its public posture regarding diversity. While claiming to be committed to supporting customers from underserved communities, Verizon Fios is removing unique content programmed to the passions and values of the large and growing multicultural millennial audience.”