Time Warner Cable Pulls CBS, Showtime Amid Fee Battle
Time Warner Cable pulled CBS in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas after the two failed to reach an agreement in their month-long carriage battle.
After several extensions -- so many it became hard to keep count -- Time Warner Cable removed CBS' signal on Friday at 5 p.m.
This is the first time CBS' signal has been pulled from a cable operator, according to the network. CBS said Time Warner Cable has removed 50 channels from the air in the last five years.
Time Warner Cable has also dropped Showtime, which is owned by CBS, in major markets nationwide.
"We deeply regret this ill-advised action, which is injurious not only to our many affected viewers, but also to Time Warner Cable itself," CBS said in a statement. "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."
The dispute centers on CBS' demands for an increase in fees in New York, Dallas and Los Angeles, which Time Warner Cable claims is 600% higher than what they pay for the network in other markets.
"We agreed to an extension on Tuesday morning with the expectation that we would engage in a meaningful negotiation with CBS," a Time Warner Cable spokeswoman said in a statement. "Since then, CBS has refused to have a productive discussion. It's become clear that no matter how much time we give them, they're not willing to come to reasonable terms."
In a statement, Showtime said this was the first time a distributor has removed its programming. "Attempts to reach an extension on negotiations were denied by Time Warner Cable, resulting in Showtime going dark in major markets."
CBS Sports issued a press release noting that Time Warner Cable subscribers will not be able to view its coverage beginning Saturday of the Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament, which Tiger Woods is currently leading. Its coverage of the PGA Championship, the season's final major, begins Thursday, Aug. 8.
CBS chief Leslie Moonves has argued that Time Warner Cable has the means to pay more.
"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," the network said.
As the companies negotiate, they have been running campaigns to get TV viewers on their side. CBS has been warning viewers that Time Warner Cable is threatening to "hold your favorite shows hostage," while Time Warner Cable is airing commercials accusing CBS of giving New York a "black eye."