FRIDAY: Around 4 PM today, Fox Networks Group and Time Warner Cable finally struck a deal. Of course it happened while I was out of the office this afternoon. Here’s their statement:
The Fox Networks Group and Time Warner Cable announced today that they have agreed in principle to a comprehensive distribution agreement to provide more than 13 million households with programming from Fox Television Stations, Fox Broadcasting (FOX), Fox Cable Networks and Fox’s Regional Sports Networks. The deal also includes carriage agreements for Bright House Networks’ 2 million additional subscribers.
“We’re pleased that, after months of negotiations, we were able to reach a fair agreement with Time Warner Cable — one that recognizes the value of our programming,” said Chase Carey, Deputy Chairman, President and COO, News Corporation.
“We’re happy to have reached a reasonable deal with no disruption in programming for our customers,” said Glenn Britt, Chairman, President and CEO, Time Warner Cable.
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
FRIDAY 10:15 AM PT: Both sides still at the negotiating table.
FRIDAY 4:30 AM PT: “I think it could be a couple more hours… honestly,” an insider told me at 1 AM. Still no breakthrough and still no blackout. I’ll check in later this AM. Happy 2010.
THURSDAY 9:35 PM UPDATE: An insider just told me: “We’re still negotiating but Fox has decided to give Time Warner Cable a little more time. We hope to reach a fair and reasonable agreement very soon.”
9 PM UPDATE: It’s midnight on the East Coast — and Time Warner Cable has just announced receiving “a brief extension with Fox, Food, and GAC as negotiations continue”. Soon after, Fox said, “We’re still negotiating and going to give it a little more time.”
7:20 PM: So last year I spilled a lot of Internet ink detailing the nasty end-of-2008 retransmission fees battle between Viacom and Time Warner Cable only to see them settle at the 11th hour. Where’s the fun in that? So I’ll only write about the current nasty retransmission fees war between News Corp/Fox and Time Warner Cable if it goes past midnight. Cynics like me see FCC chair Julian Genachowski’s proposal earlier today — it urges Fox and Time Warner Cable to agree to a temporary extension of carriage if they do not come to terms on a new agreement tonight in order to prevent disruption to their viewers — to be a way for both sides to save PR face.
Meanwhile, Time Warner Cable said the company has reached a brief extension as well with Scripps Networks Interactive Corp, which is also warring with Cablevision over carriage fees amid the threat that its Food Network and HGTV channels may be dropped as of midnight primarily in the New York area. UPDATE: Scripps Yanks Food Network & HGTV Off Cablevision in NY, NJ, Conn.