The Breakdown

Explaining Southern California's economy

Update: No Time Warner CBS deal, CBS going dark in LA, NY and Dallas?

65283 full
65283 full

Update 9:38 p.m.: Time Warner Cable is now saying it will hold off pulling CBS channels from its lineups in Los Angeles, New York and Dallas.

At the request of CBS, we have halted going dark on their channels.

A TWC spokeswoman told KPCC that she would have more information when it's available.

If you're a Time Warner Cable customer in L.A., let us know in the comments whether you are still receiving a signal for CBS, KCAL or Showtime and when you are seeing it.

Update 9:15 p.m.: KPCC's Brian Watt reports that both parties have failed to reach a deal, meaning that CBS channels will go dark on Time Warner Cable in Los Angeles and two other cities as of 9 p.m. PT.

Time Warner Cable's full statement is posted below:

The outrageous demands for fees by CBS Corporation have forced Time Warner Cable to remove several of its networks and broadcast stations from our customers’ lineups.  As of midnight ET, Time Warner Cable customers in New York City, Dallas and Los Angeles will no longer receive their local CBS broadcast stations.  In addition, we have been forced to remove Showtime, TMC, Flix and Smithsonian from our lineups across the country.   We offered to pay reasonable increases, but CBS’s demands are out of line and unfair – and they want Time Warner Cable to pay more than others pay for the same programming.

Fortunately, CBS programming is still available free online at cbs.com and over the air with an antenna. Showtime subscribers can watch some programming at sho.com.  For more information on other ways to watch these shows, customers should visit www.twcconversations.com. We regret any inconvenience caused by the CBS/Showtime blackout, and we’re working hard to restore the programming at a reasonable price. Switching is not the answer; sooner or later CBS will threaten others and go dark, just as they have with DISH in the past and with us today.  We thank our customers for their patience, and we hope to resolve this situation soon.

CBS chief executive Les Moonves offered the Los Angeles Times a blunt assessment of the standoff:

Update 6:59 p.m.: Deadline extended to 8 p.m.

Update 5:58 p.m.: Deadline extended another hour

Update 5:03 p.m.: Deadline for deal extended to 6 p.m.

KCBS, KCAL and Showtime are still running on the televisions of Time Warner Cable customers in Los Angeles.  CBS and Time Warner have extended the deadline in the negotiations over how much the cable provider will pay the broadcaster to carry CBS-owned local stations in Los Angeles, New York, and Dallas. 

The two companies have been in a stand-off for weeks as they negotiate what’s called a “retransmission consent” agreement.   A Federal Communications Commission rule prohibits cable providers from retransmitting a local station’s signal without the broadcaster’s consent.  This consent can come with fees the cable company must pay to the broadcaster.

A local station may also require the cable company to carry its signal in the same market (known as “must-carry” in broadcasting parlance), but if it does so, the station’s owners can’t demand the fees.

CBS has not been shy about wanting to earn more from retransmission fees.  Analysts estimate Time Warner Cable is currently paying between 75 cents and a dollar per subscriber to carry the  CBS stations.  Time Warner Cable had indicated it was willing to pay more, but thought whatever CBS was demanding in negotiations was way too much. 

Update 2:33 p.m. CBS and Time Warner have given themselves another three hours to reach an agreement over carriage fees and a deal to keep CBS stations on Time Warner Cable in Los Angeles and several other markets.

Shortly before 2 p.m. Pacific Time, when their current agreement was set to expire, the two companies said they'd pushed the deadline back.

"Since negotiations are ongoing, Time Warner Cable has agreed to extend the agreement until 5 p.m. PST," said a Time Warner Cable spokesman.

Previously: Hours remain before a Monday 2 p.m. Pacific deadline in negotiations between Time Warner Cable and CBS. The two companies have been in a stand-off over the fees the cable provider pays the network to carry CBS-owned TV stations in certain markets, including Los Angeles.

If the two sides can’t resolve the dispute, or at least agree to extend the deadline once again, six CBS-owned stations could go dark on Time Warner Cable for around 3 million customers in Los Angeles, New York and Dallas.

CBS Corp. chief executive Les Moonves told the Television Critics Association that the dispute still hadn't been settled Monday morning, saying that he'd been negotiating as recently as 15 minutes before a morning panel, the Wrap reports.

"It's a very difficult negotiation. We feel like we should be paid for our programming," Moonves said, according to the Wrap. "I hope we don't go dark."

CBS programs continued to use Twitter during the weekend to warn viewers that shows like "Big Brother" could soon be blacked out.

"Big Brother" is hosted by Moonves' wife, Julie Chen.

The disagreement centers mainly on how much Time Warner Cable pays for the right to retransmit signals from the CBS-owned stations. Time Warner Cable has maintained that CBS is asking for too large an increase in the retransmission fees.

Also involved is a possible blackout of CBS-owned Showtime for Time Warner Cable customers nationwide who pay extra for it.

This story has been updated.

With contributions by KPCC staff

blog comments powered by Disqus

Enjoy reading The Breakdown? You might like KPCC’s other blogs.

What's popular now on KPCC