Time Warner Cable blacks out CBS stations

Aug. 2, 2013 at 5:30 PM ET

Image: CBS logo

After fee negotiations failed between Time Warner Cable and CBS, the cable provider on Friday blacked out the network for customers in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston, Detroit, Chicago, Denver and Pittsburgh at 5 p.m. ET.

"We agreed to an extension on Tuesday morning with the expectation that we would engage in a meaningful negotiation with CBS. Since then, CBS has refused to have a productive discussion," the company said in a statement. "It's become clear that no matter how much time we give them, they're not willing to come to reasonable terms. We thank our customers for their patience and support as we continue to fight hard to keep their prices down."

CBS claims in its own statement that 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 percent increase CBS supposedly demanded — while maintaining antiquated positions no longer held by any other programming distributor in the business."

The network insists it wants only "fair compensation for the most-watched television network with the most popular content in the world." 

"Big Brother" and "Under the Dome" are two of the network's big summer hits that TWC subscribers in the affected cities will not be able to to watch during the blackout. The network is also home to megahits "The Big Bang Theory," "NCIS," "Two and a Half Men" and more. 

Because of the TWC blackout, CBS said that the cable provider's subscribers will miss the World Golf Championships featuring Tiger Woods on Aug. 3, and the PGA Championship, which kicks off Aug. 8.

Subscribers in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas will also be missing various baseball and football events in August.

Showtime, which is also owned by CBS, is blacked out as well.

The premium cable network said in a statement that Time Warner Cable's move was "completely unnecessary" and "totally punitive to our subscribers." Showtime also noted that it had agreed to allow the cable provider to continue carrying the premium network while negotiations were ongoing, and is "deeply disappointed" by the decision.

On Demand content from CBS, The Movie Channel, Flix and Smithsonian Channel will also be unavailable during the blackout. TWC said on its website that "as a courtesy," it is providing Showtime subscribers with Starz temporarily, and The Movie Channel subscribers with Encore.

TWC subscribers in the affected areas who have TV antennae and digital tuners should be able to get the CBS signal from their local stations.

CBS said in its statement that it hopes the blackout will be short-lived, but it is unclear how long it will last.