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Disney and Charter Reach Deal, Restoring ESPN and ABC to Spectrum Customers

After 10 days of stalled negotiations, the highly-publicized carriage dispute between The Walt Disney Company and Charter Communications is over. The new deal brings relief to nearly 15 million Spectrum TV customers.

Popular channels like ABC, ESPN, and FX returned to Spectrum early Monday morning. But not every network under the Disney umbrella made the cut. Spectrum no longer carries the following eight channels.

  • Baby TV
  • Disney Junior
  • Disney XD
  • Freeform
  • FXM
  • FXX
  • Nat Geo Wild
  • Nat Geo Mundo

The decision to exclude these channels reflects the evolving content distribution landscape for cable companies in the streaming era. Spectrum customers missing these channels will need to explore alternative ways to tune in.

Pro tip: Our 9 Streaming Bundles to Replace Cable guide is a great place to start if you want to cut the cord.

Is ESPN back on Spectrum?

Following the new Disney-Charter deal, Spectrum continues to carry every ESPN channel—including ACC Network and SEC Network.

The return of ESPN coverage is good news for football fans concerned about a potential Monday Night Football blackout. Disney CEO Bob Iger and Charter CEO Chris Winfrey conveyed the deal’s significance through their joint statement.

“Our collective goal has always been to build an innovative model for the future. This deal recognizes both the continued value of linear television and the growing popularity of streaming services while addressing the evolving needs of our consumers. We also want to thank our mutual customers for their patience this past week and are pleased that Spectrum viewers once again have access to Disney’s high-quality sports, news, and entertainment programming in time for Monday Night Football.”

Unfortunately, tennis and college football fans missed critical coverage during the 10-day blackout. The situation highlights the tumultuous state of the media industry—further underscored by the ongoing distribution dispute between DISH and Hearst Television.

What’s new in the Disney-Charter deal?

Part of the new agreement between Disney and Charter brings Disney+ and ESPN+ to Spectrum.

Later this year, Spectrum TV Select subscribers will receive access to Disney’s ad-supported Disney+ Basic plan. TV Select Plus subscribers will also get ESPN+ for expanded sports coverage.

Beyond these immediate offerings, Disney is in the process of crafting an independent, direct-to-consumer streaming service. The forthcoming platform will offer linear ESPN channels without needing a TV subscription. Spectrum TV Select subscribers can look forward to full access as soon as it debuts—likely sometime in 2025 or 2026.

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