We've all seen the Wile E. Coyote cartoons. Those classic Warner Bros. cartoons where the coyote ran through the desert trying to catch the Road Runner. And we all remember the grand plans Wile E. would hatch, most of them courtesy of ACME and most being incredibly complicated Rube Goldberg contraptions that would invariably blow up at the last instance.
The CSN cartoon returned to the court of Judge Marvin Isgur on Wednesday. The parties were supposed to present to Isgur a reorganization plan. They were supposed to have done this last month, but couldn't. So after being granted a month's continuance, they once again failed to come up with a plan, asking the judge to give them another month's continuance, which the judge granted. But being as this whole thing had reached cartoon levels of idiocy, the request for continuance was not unanimous since Comcast objected, which was surprising as it's normally the Astros objecting to everything under the sun.
CSN Houston must have been designed by ACME and assembled by Wile E. Coyote because there's no other explanation for the joke that this thing has become. There's the partnership agreement that allowed any of the three partners to veto any agreement. There's the most favored nations status clause that lowers the price Comcast pays to carry the network lower than that of any carrier. There's the whole insistence by the Astros that the network be distributed over the same five-state network as Fox Sports Southwest despite the fact that Rockets games can only be aired over a tiny sliver of that proposed network map.
So it's no wonder that this thing has ended up in bankruptcy court. But then again, the Astros dispute the very idea of the bankruptcy despite not being paid rights fees in nearly a year. And there's the fraud suit filed by Jim Crane against Drayton McLane and Comcast. There's a judge who heard an appeal of the bankruptcy ruling who refuses to rule on the appeal. And there's the fact that time and time again, the parties have been unable to meet court-imposed deadlines to create a reorganization plan.
Wile E. Coyote wants to catch that damn Road Runner, but even he thinks this whole ACME plan is ridiculous. And it's probably pretty reasonable to believe that not even Daffy Duck would come close to signing off anything that's been generated related to this network.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
One of the reasons for this week's continuance, supposedly, is that an offer has been made for the network. Supposedly, that is, because the media and public were not allowed in the courtroom for that discussion with the judge because details are allegedly confidential and a public disclosure could have an adverse impact. But if they're all worried about public disclosure, the real fear should be the Astros putting any details on their internal Ground Control database system because nothing stays confidential once it goes in there.
David Barron tweeted yesterday that the Rockets, Astros and Comcast partook in long and difficult discussions before the hearing. And it appears that it's Comcast that is bitching about details not being fully disclosed, which led to its reservations behind granting the request for the extension. That's kind of funny seeing as how it was Comcast that pulled off the sneak attack by putting the network into bankruptcy in the first place.
Just read everything filed to the court. Read the motions, the briefs, the objections. It's all like Wile E. Coyote's trying to read ACME instructions for his latest contraption to capture the Road Runner, and you just known the Coyote has no real idea of what it all really means, what goes where, and you just know it's all going to blow up in his face. So you just know that, the longer this whole bankruptcy thing goes on, the lesser the odds of network survival. That whatever grand plan they're all constructing is going to blow up in their faces just before the final order is signed.
So maybe there is a possible purchaser for the network out there. Maybe there is a realistic reorganization plan. But Wile E. always thinks his ACME plans look perfect and realistic, right up until the moment of failure. It really shouldn't be this hard. None of this should be that hard or difficult to achieve. But as Wile E. Coyote has proven, just because you think you're a genius doesn't really mean that you're a genius. And just because you think you have a plan doesn't really mean that it's workable because, come on, this is CSN Houston we're talking about, and this thing hasn't been workable since day one.