Washington DC City Council urges Comcast to keep Starz

Local politicians in the nation’s capital want their Starz.

Washington, DC, City Council on Tuesday urged Comcast to keep cable TV channel Starz — the home of shows like “Power” starring rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson.

The resolution follows Comcast’s October decision to swap out Starz for Epix nationwide on Dec. 10 in its Xfinity cable package. Comcast’s move, which will force subscribers to pay extra for Starz, has begun to attract scrutiny from Capitol Hill and the Department of Justice.

On Tuesday night, lawmakers in the DC Council passed a resolution similar to one passed by Baltimore’s City Council last month, saying Comcast has an obligation to maximize diversity across its channels.

They said that by offering Starz a la carte for an additional $12, the cable giant is violating that obligation, particularly for African American viewers who are fans of “Power.”

The DC Council added that “Comcast should maintain Starz channels and associated on-demand content in its packages until the contract issues are resolved.”

Currently, the DOJ is reviewing Comcast’s decision for antitrust issues. A group of congressmen and US senators including Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) have expressed concerns to the DOJ that cable company’s move could be anti-competitive.

Comcast is currently embroiled in a Supreme Court battle with African American comedian and media mogul Byron Allen, who claims that his race was a “motivating factor” in Comcast’s decision to not carry his channels, which include JusticeCentral.TV, Pets.TV and Recipe.TV.

Altitude Sports and Entertainment, the official television network of the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, also filed an antitrust lawsuit against Comcast last month.

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