FCC: 'Engaged’ In Trying to End CBS-TWC Retrans Fight

Agency Working With Sparring Sides to End Impasse, Spokesman Says
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WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission is now actively working to help Time Warner Cable and CBS resolve their more than three-week-old retransmission consent dispute, an agency spokesman suggested Monday.

Two weeks ago, acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn (pictured) said she was ready to consider "appropriate action" if the dispute continues. At the time, she said, the FCC was continuing to monitor the situation.

But in a statement Monday, an FCC spokesman said that the agency is "engaged at the highest levels with the respective parties and working to bring the impasse to an end for consumers and viewers in the affected markets.”

"We urge all parties to resolve this matter as quickly as possible so consumers can access the programming they rely on and are paying for,” the spokesman added.

Historically, when retransmission-consent battles occur, the FCC has taken a role in trying to bring parties together. The spokesman would not elaborate as to what exactly the FCC was doing to bring about a resolution in this instance.

Under its current rules, the FCC may flex its regulatory muscle by weighing in on whether either side has violated rules mandating good-faith negotiations. One of the combatants must file a complaint with the FCC before the regulator may weigh in, though — and neither side had as of press time, a source said.

CBS owned-and-operated stations in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas plus cable channels Showtime, Flix and Smithsonian Channel, have been dark on Time Warner Cable systems since Aug. 2.

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