Here we go again. The FCC hit the pause button today on its 180-day informal clock to review Comcast’s plan to buy Time Warner Cable and AT&T’s to buy DirecTV.

The sticking point, in both instances, involves a dispute over how much information about the video fcc1__130401234319-200x182providers’ contracts with programmers the FCC can share with outsiders. CBS, Scripps Networks, Disney, Time Warner, Fox, Univision and Viacom are among the companies that don’t want potential critics of the deals to see their arrangements with the distributors, now on file at the agency. The FCC decided that it needs to hear informed views from all sides and would make sure that the details remain confidential.

Programmers asked the U.S. Court of Appeals to overturn the FCC on the matter. The court heard the case on February 20 but has yet to rule.

As a result, the FCC says it would be “prudent” to pause the 180-day countdown because “the Commission would be advantaged by knowing the resolution” of the case before the time periods run out at the end of March. This is Day 165 for Comcast and 170 for AT&T.Comcast says no worries. The FCC “appears to be making significant progress in the review of our AT&T DirecTV logostransaction in order to bring it to a conclusion,” VP Sena Fitzmaurice says. “The comment cycle is complete, the economists have all weighed in, and the parties have responded to all of the FCC’s Requests for Information. We look forward to working with the government to complete the regulatory review process.”

The FCC stopped the clock on the Comcast and AT&T deals for 42 days ending December 3, and stopped the Comcast one for an additional 21 days ending January 12.