The new decade has dawned and in at least one respect it looks a lot like the last one: executives at Time Warner Cable and Fox remain in discussions over retransmission-consent.
The parties' pact expired at midnight on Dec. 31, 2009, but an extension was granted and Fox didn't pull its signals from the No. 2 cable operator in what has been a very public and highly contentious dispute.
A Fox spokesman this morning, via email, indicated the sides are "still negotiating." All of Fox properties -- stations, national cable networks and a host of regional sports network -- remained on Time Warner Cable's systems as of press time.
Time Warner Cable declined comment on Jan. 1. But at the top of its rolloverorgettough.com Web site, the operator listed the following as breaking news: "TWC has received brief extensions from both Fox and The Food Network and Great American Country while negotiations continue."
For its part, the countdown area on the keepfoxon.com site lists that there are "0 days to save Fox." It also includes a number of press stories, headed by B&C's most recent entry.
The carriage deals affect about 13 million Time Warner Cable subscribers (3.9 million for the broadcast stations) and include Fox TV stations in New York; Los Angeles; Austin, Texas; Dallas; Detroit; and Orlando and Tampa, Fla.
Fox has been eyeing a $1 monthly license fee per subscriber, a benchmark that has caught the attention of both broadcasters and distributors.
Also in danger of being dropped are Fox national cable channels FX, Speed, Fuel TV, Fox Movie Channel, Fox Reality Channel, Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Sports en Espanol. Additionally, the contracts for nine regional Fox Sports Net channels --FS Arizona, Florida, Houston, Midwest, Southwest, West, Prime Ticket, SportsSouth and Sun Sports -- also lapsed last night. The RSN deals had expired at the end of 2008, but were extended throughout 2009.