Cox Communications Inc.'s Cox Cable of Northern Virginia and WJLA-TV have
resumed their retransmission-consent talks, agreeing that the ABC affiliate and
its sister cable service, NewsChannel 8, will remain on the 240,000-subscriber
system until at least the end of the month.
Cox and Allbritton Communications Co. have also agreed that if there is no
resolution to their bitter dispute, Cox's subscribers in Fairfax County, Va.,
will lose both WJLA and NewsChannel 8 -- both owned by Allbritton -- midnight
Contract talks between Cox and Allbritton erupted in a nasty public battle
last week, with Allbritton telling the cable operator Oct. 1 that it would not
longer have permission to carry WJLA as of midnight Oct. 6.
WJLA's retransmission-consent deal with Cox expired nearly two years ago,
continuing under monthly extensions while both sides worked on a renewal. The
MSO's deal for NewsChannel 8 expired Oct. 6.
The feud escalated Friday when Cox said it was refusing to drop WJLA, arguing
that Allbritton had not given it proper notification -- as mandated under
federal regulations -- in ordering that the station be pulled. Cox maintained
that it would not be able to give its subscribers proper notice that they would
be losing WJLA.
Allbritton responded by threatening that Cox would liable for theft of
service, copyright infringement and federal sanctions if it kept WJLA on past
the Oct. 6 deadline.
But Friday night, both sides agreed to resume face-to-face talks, with
Allbritton extending its contracts with Cox until the end of the