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The US Federal Communications Commission has stepped in to bring a temporary halt to a dispute that had threatened to disrupt that most cherished of American institutions: watching young men attempt to bash each other senseless over the possession of an inflated ersatz pig bladder.

This revelation comes in a statement (PDF) released mere hours before a Thursday midnight deadline of a contract dispute between Sinclair Broadcasting and Mediacom Communications that raised the specter of Iowans being unable to watch their beloved U-of-I Hawkeyes face the fearsome Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the Orange Bowl on Tuesday.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski congratulated the warring cable companies on their suspension of hostilities: "I commend Sinclair and Mediacom for agreeing to an eight-day extension of their retransmission consent agreement, which was set to expire tonight."

In a separate and much larger contract tussle - but one which didn't bear the immediate threat of infuriating blue-state bowl-maddened Midwesterners - Genachowski urged Fox and Time Warner to suspend their ongoing contract wrangling.

The FFC chairman also used the f-word in his discussion of this dispute: "I have urged Fox and Time Warner Cable to agree to a temporary extension of carriage...in order to prevent disruption to their viewers," he said. "Companies shouldn't force cable-watching football fans to scramble for other means of TV delivery on New Year's weekend."

It's good to know that the Obama administration has a firm hand on the TV tiller in the person of a man who has the sporting interests of his constituency at heart.

Julie G., this Bud's for thee! ®

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