Zero Hour Approaches in Fox/Time Warner Cable Standoff
Though year-end battles between Time Warner Cable and its high-profile constituents are no new ordeal, Fox's programming may be pulled from air beginning at midnight tonight thanks to a lack of resolution in their fight with the cable giant for "fair compensation." Again, this means: "Your cable bill is going up -- but the fun is figuring out how much. Blackout party!" The update arrives via a memo sent to employees Wednesday by News Corp. president Chase Carey.
Said Carey, as reported by THR:
"At this time, it looks like we will not reach an agreement and our channels may very well go off the air in Time Warner Cable systems at midnight tomorrow, Dec. 31," Carey wrote in the memo. "We deeply regret that millions of Fox customers will be deprived of our programming, but we need to receive fair compensation from Time Warner Cable to go forward with them."
Strong words for a Pringles mascot, but he's got leverage: Fox's top-shelf January programming includes season premieres of American Idol and 24, the NFL playoffs, the Bowl Championship Series, The Simpsons, FX shows, and essentially everything but Fox News (which is part of a separate agreement). The negotiations reportedly have been ongoing for nine months. As Fox president Scott Grogin notes, "We're going to continue to actively negotiate with Time Warner Cable. However, viewers should have alternative plans in place."
The last time a TWC standoff resulting in pulled programming occurred in 2000, when Disney's channels went black for a short period on Jan. 1. Tune in 12 hours from now to see if the ball in Times Square isn't the only thing dropping at midnight.