The Fox News channel canceled its plan to bring its weekend live show to a New York studio Friday after being told by New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs that its operations would violate the city’s new live TV rules.
Instead, producers at the cable news network drew up a plan to pay the roughly 200 cast and crew members paid actors to not work and to leave the building.
The New York Daily News reported that staffers were paid $60 each, and that Fox paid event coordinators $300 for the event. One crew member told The New York Times on Friday that the pushback from the city made filming in New York a challenge because they were prohibited from working.
The Department of Consumer Affairs said Friday evening that the network violated zoning rules by operating without approval.
“Broadcasting from a location other than a licensed studio is a violation of a broadcast license. Repeatedly operating the program in a location that is neither licensed nor considered a studio may result in an on-air studio being designated,” the DCA wrote.
“While Fox News did have permission to be at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the appearance of their program in an unlicensed location resulted in a violation of our rules,” the statement added.
The rules, passed by the City Council in May, prohibit a studio company from operating within a mile of a school, church or another broadcast facility.
There is a one-mile radius of the 30 Rockefeller Center complex, though according to industry insiders, any programming aimed at small audiences is likely to take place in a different location, less than a mile away. The area includes various studios in the building.