CBS and Showtime are headed back to Time Warner Cable. The networks and the cable giant ended their acrimonious standoff Sunday after nearly a month of darkness in major markets including New York City, Los Angeles and Dallas. Service was restarted at 3 p.m Sunday, the two sides said in a news release.
The agreement is good news for fans of the NFL. CBS is set to begin its pro football broadcasts next weekend. Neither side said as much in the announcement, but it’s certain the onset of the enormously popular was a motivating factor in the deal. The blackout went into effect Friday Aug. 2 at 5 p.m. ET — the first time CBS and Showtime allowed their signal to go dark during a retransmission dispute. It affected 3.5 million homes — nearly a third of Time Warner Cable’s subscribers.
The sides had grappled over a handful of issues, and at one point had hammered out agreeable terms on fees — but negotiations got hung up in CBS’ apparent refusal to make its digital assets free to TWC customers. TWC then proposed offering CBS on an “a la carte” basis to cable customers; the network scoffed at the idea.
The sides exchanged a flurry of barbed press releases as the deadline flew past and beyond, with TWC accusing CBS of refusing to engage in “productive discussion” and “not willing to come to reasonable terms.” CBS maintained that it was vastly underpaid for the bulk of viewers it brings.
Other affected included Boston, Tampa, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte, San Diego, Columbus, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Austin and Detroit, among many others.