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Time Warner Cable Pulls Plug On CBS Over Carriage Fees

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TWC News: Time Warner Cable Pulls Plug On CBS Over Carriage Fees
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After several deadlines passed with no deal, Time Warner Cable pulled the plug on CBS Friday afternoon. The two companies had been trying to come to an agreement regarding carriage fees. NY1's Elizabeth Kaledin filed the following report.

It was just a few minutes after 5 p.m. Friday when Time Warner Cable customers watching the local news saw black, and then a slate saying talks with CBS were over and all programming was off the air, not just in New York, but in Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Detroit and Denver.

More than 3 million cable customers are affected. The popular channel Showtime is also now black.

The two media titans have been feuding for weeks over so-called carriage fees, how much CBS wants to charge Time Warner Cable to carry its top-rated programming.

Time Warner Cable alleges that CBS wants a whopping 600 percent increase. In a statement issued Friday, they said, "We regret being forced into this position by CBS but we're prepared to stand by our customers and do what it takes to fight outrageous programmer demands."

CBS is firing back, saying that the 600 percent number is fictional and ridiculous.

"Throughout this process," their statement charges, "Time Warner Cable has conducted negotiations in a combative and non productive spirit, indulging in pointless brinksmanship and distorted public positioning."

Media writers like Mike Reynolds, a news editor at Multichannel News, say enjoying the number one spot gives CBS the upper hand.

"CBS is rated more highly than any other cable channel, so that's their point," Reynolds said. "'Why shouldn't we get paid for what people are watching?'"

In the meantime Time Warner Cable executives say customers can find their favorite CBS shows other places:

"The good news is that because this is a free over-the-air broadcast station, customers can still get access with an over-the-air antenna, online at cbs.com, and for more information, go to twcconversations.com," said Michael Angus, senior vice president and general manager with Time Warner Cable.

How long this stalemate will last is anyone's guess, but experts say if it drags on into September, impacting the new fall lineup and football season, even CBS may be looking for some middle ground.

Time Warner Cable is the parent company of NY1.

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