The Federal Communication Commission issued a new order that will keep channels on the air during contract fights between programmers and distributors, at least until the FCC rules on which side is right. The order also allows the FCC to mandate distribution of networks that can prove they've been discriminated against.
From the LA Times:
The agency's action is seen as trying to boost independent networks that are not affiliated with a major distributor. The move was seen by cable operators as unnecessary and an example of the government getting involved in business dealings between companies.
Consumer groups are much happier. They say it'll help indie programmers get and keep distribution. The decision could increase the number of channels we have to choose from, also increasing the amount of time we all spend sitting on the couch, flipping up and down to see what's on.