After failing to reach a new deal with Time Warner Cable (TWC) over retransmission fees, 13 CBS Owned & Operated TV stations in the eight markets covered by TWC, cable networks Showtime, The Movie Channel (TMC), Flix and Smithsonian, which are wholly or partly owned by CBS, are now dark. The networks and stations were dropped by the second largest cable provider in America effective 5:00 PM Eastern Time, which was the most recent deadline agreed to by both parties who have been embroiled in a retransmission dispute since failing to sign a new contract in late June as the old one was set to expire.
“We deeply regret this ill-advised action, which is injurious not only to our many affected viewers, but also to Time Warner Cable itself. Throughout this process, Time Warner Cable has conducted negotiations in a combative and non-productive spirit, indulging in pointless brinksmanship and distorted public positioning – such as the fictional and ridiculous 600% increase CBS supposedly demanded – while maintaining antiquated positions no longer held by any other programming distributor in the business. CBS, for its part, is eager to make an agreement in line with the kind it has struck with every other cable, satellite and telco provider, and has continually sought reasonable term extensions to get that job done. This is the first time in its history that CBS has been dropped from a cable system. Time Warner Cable, on the other hand, has a long history of taking channels off the air – more than 50 in the last five years alone. It has also chosen to drop Showtime, which is owned by CBS, a move that is completely unnecessary and totally punitive to its subscribers,” CBS said in a press release just a short time ago.
“What CBS seeks, and what we always have sought from the beginning, is fair compensation for the most-watched television network with the most popular content in the world. We will not accept less. We will not sign away rights not granted to others. We will not give up our channel position or any other asset by which our viewers identify us. We will also not be subjected to pointless maneuvers like a series of one-hour extensions and mini-drops that do nothing for either side but annoy our viewers. We hope and believe this period of darkness will be short and that we can all get back to the business of providing the best entertainment, news and sports to the Time Warner Cable customers we both serve.”
The affected CBS owned stations are as follows:
- New York: WCBS and WLNY (Ind)
- Los Angeles: KCBS and KCAL (Ind)
- Dallas: KTVT-CBS and KTXA (Ind)
- Boston: WBZ-CBS and WSBK (Ind)
- Pittsburgh: KDKA-CBS and WPCW-CW
- Chicago: WBBM-CBS
- Detroit: WKBD-CW
- Denver: KCNC-CBW
Time Warner has yet to issue a statement on the matter.