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TV ruling silences old-movie channel

March 13, 1982

By Tom Sowa
The Spokesman-Review

Cable-TV movie fans may have seen the last of Channel 25 Friday night, following two court decisions that allowed Cox Cable of Spokane to pull the plug on the old-movie channel.

Daedalus of Washington, Inc., which operates Channel 25, lost motions Friday in Spokane Superior Court and the Washington Court of Appeals that would have prevented Cox from snipping the seven-month-old business venture that showed eight old films per day over the cable system.

Friday morning Superior Court Judge John J. Lally refused a motion filed by attorney Alan Daugherty on behalf of Daedalus for a preliminary injunction to keep Channel 25 on the air indefinitely. The action was necessary because Cox announced, as far back as last December, that it intended to drop Channel 25’s older, “B-grade” films.

That first plan to pull the plug was stopped by a 90-day restraining order issued in December that ordered Cox to continue Channel 25 through this week. Lally ruled Friday that continuing the restraining order was not necessary in light of a continuing legal effort by Daedalus to prove that Cox must supply it with a cable channel if one is available for commercial programming.

After Lally’s decision, State Appeals Court Commissioner Michael F. Keyes heard and denied that same motion, saying that the legal remedies sought by Daedalus were not exhausted.

Gerry Daugherty, president of Daedalus, said Cox told him to begin packing his equipment and that the last showing over Channel 25, ending at midnight, would be the final one carried by Cox.

But, according to Alan Daugherty, Gerry’s brother, the decisions Friday in no way reflected on a lawsuit still pending in Superior Court. That suit argues that the city and state laws governing cable television carriers must provide First Amendment freedom of speech protection to a company like Daedalus.

That same suit, which seeks at least $50,000 in damages for breach of contract, also names the City of Spokane as a defendant. The city owns the cable system but grants the operation of the franchise to Cox for 15-year renewable periods.

Attorneys for Cox have said that no formal contract ever exited between Cox and Daedalus. Daugherty claimed that a verbal contract existed and that the initial reason for the lawsuit was Cox’s resentment of Channel 25’s impressive success after three months of operation.

The amount of income earned by Channel 25 from local advertising paid various operating expenses and was to provide a basis for the fee Cox was to receive in exchange for letting Daedalus use the channel. Daugherty said the channel made a gross profit of $8,000 in November.

Because of additional court motions and a complex series of arguments over cable company obligations and rights, a trial date over the initial dispute still remains to be set. Judge Lally said Friday that complications in the dispute may delay the trial until next year.

Attorney Daugherty said Friday that Channel 25 still might program its films before the suit is settled.

Saturday, March 13, 1982

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From → Cable Television

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