Yet another member of Congress has thrown his hat into the Time Warner Cable-Fox Broadcasting retransmission- consent ring, calling for the companies to call a temporary truce that would allow the MSO's subscribers to one-time sporting events like college bowl games while negotiations continued.
In a letter to both parties Dec. 31, Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY) asked for a 30-day cooling-off period.
"We believe that is the best path forward not only to prevent disruption for consumers, but to allow the parties to reach a mutually acceptable agreement," Israel wrote. He requested that the companies respond to his office by 5 p.m. today whether they would voluntarily agree to his proposal.
A 30-day extension would be well within the window for several major college bowl games which are slated to air on Fox in the next few weeks, including the All State Sugar Bowl (Jan. 1) and the Orange Bowl (Jan. 5) and the National Football League's NFC divisional playoffs.
Time Warner wasted little time in accepting the proposal.
"Time Warner Cable accepts the Congressman's proposal and urges Fox to do the same," MSO spokesman Alex Dudley said in a statement. "Our customers should not be held hostage over a business negotiation and we implore Fox to not make America's living rooms a corporate battleground."
Fox declined to comment on the Israel proposal, adding that negotiations are ongoing. The network had earlier rejected a plea by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) for binding arbitration and an interim extension to the existing retrans deal. Unless an agreement is reached, Fox programming could be pulled from Time Warner Cable systems in several large markets (including New York and Los Angeles) at midnight tonight.