Just days after BTIG Research media analyst Rich Greenfield suggested that Time Warner Cable could use its channel position as a bargaining chit in its retransmission consent negotiations with CBS, TWC is doing just that, telling the broadcaster that it has spoken to several interested programmers about taking over the coveted channel slot in New York and Los Angeles.
TWC spokeswoman Maureen Huff said CBS would lose the Channel 2 position in those two markets permanently if it goes dark.
“Broadcasters have no birthright to any particular space on our lineup,” Huff said. “We have heard from several programmers at this point; they are expressing interest in having the same position that CBS holds now in New York, Dallas and LA, if the channel slots were to become available.”
“We continue to offer CBS increased fees to carry their network and we do believe there is value in their programming,” she continued. “If another network moves into channel slots currently occupied by CBS in NY, Dallas and LA, customers need to know that we’ll still continue to negotiate with CBS to reach an agreement, the stations would just potentially appear on different channel numbers when they return.”
CBS issued a terse response.
“CBS obviously won’t be making any deals where we are required to change our channel position,” the broadcaster said in a statement.
Greenfield brought up the possibility of selling the channel position in a blog posting Monday.
He speculated that networks like CNN would pay handsomely for the better channel real estate.
Obviously CBS would retain the Channel 2 spot if it manages to hammer out a deal by the 9 a.m. July 25 deadline. But the fact that TWC is even considering yanking CBS’s channel spot does not bode well for a cordial outcome.