POSTED: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 5:19pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:22pm
Time Warner Cable says it's reached deal with Viacom to avoid blackout of 19 cable channels.
Had the dispute over carriage fees not been settled between the companies, millions of cable TV subscribers would have seen more than a dozen channels from MTV to Comedy Central go dark at a minute past midnight Wednesday.
Time Warner, the nation's second-largest cable operator, proposed an increase in what it pays for Viacom's channels, but the offer had previously been rejected as "a pittance," said Viacom spokeswoman KellyMcAndrew.
High-level phone talks continued Wednesday night.
The impasse, coming at the end of a three-year contract, threatened to blank out shows such as "SpongeBob SquarePants" and "The Colbert Report" to about 15.7 million subscribers to Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, an affiliate for which it negotiates programming deals.
Time Warner Cable serves 13.3 million people in New York state, the Carolinas, Ohio, Southern California and Texas; Bright House has 2.4 million customers in Michigan, Indiana, California, Alabama and Florida.