Despite lots of tough talk from both sides, as the big ball was being prepared to drop in Times Square on Friday (12/31) Sinclair Broadcast Group and Time Warner Cable announced that they would go back to the negotiating table and no Sinclair stations would be jerked from TWC systems on New Year’s Day.
The parties agreed to a two week extension, which will keep 33 Sinclair stations on systems owned by TWC and Bright House Networks. Bright House is partly owned by TWC, which handles its retrans negotiations. The new deadline is January 14th.
“We are pleased Time Warner and Bright House recognized the importance of providing their subscribers with access to the valuable and popular programming, such as the local news, sports and syndicated programs, our stations carry and, therefore, agreed to this extension. We intend to continue our good faith negotiations during this period with the intent of finalizing a longer-term agreement at pricing that reflects the higher cost of programming we are faced with today,” said Barry Faber, EVP and General Counsel of Sinclair.
“We’re pleased that we’ve reached an extension with Sinclair Broadcasting that will allow our customers to continue to receive all Sinclair Broadcasting stations uninterrupted through January 14th and allow us to continue negotiating to reach a long-term agreement. We thank our customers for their patience and support throughout these negotiations,” said a statement from TWC.
RBR-TVBR observation: This one had looked like local stations were going to be pulled, with talks breaking down and each side blaming the other just two days before the contract deadline. Fortunately for consumers, cooler heads prevailed and the parties are trying again to find common ground.