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Cable One Drops CNN, Other Turner Networks In Carriage Dispute

Cable-One-InternetCNN, HLN, Cartoon Network and other Turner Broadcasting channels have been dropped from Cable One, the country’s 10th-largest cable provider, as part of a carriage dispute. TNT and TBS are also being dropped, right as the MLB Playoffs start.

As a result of the dispute, over 500,000 cable subscribers will be unable to get the channels, mostly in the South and the Midwest, where Cable One has most of its customers.

The timing couldn’t be worse for CNN, which is covering the effects of the government shutdown. Subscribers will also be unable to watch the MLB wildcard and division series games, which start this week on TBS. When CBS was dropped by Time Warner Cable this Summer, it was off the air for a few weeks. It isn’t clear how close Turner and Cable One were in their negotiating process, but the fact that the channels were dropped is not a good sign.

“Turner has a long history and well-earned reputation as a fair and reasonable partner to our distributors and we have worked diligently with Cable One to come to a resolution, even offering an extension that expired at noon today,” a Turner Broadcasting statement said. “We are simply asking that Cable One pay the established and accepted rates already in the marketplace for our portfolio and remain willing to discuss a new agreement that recognizes the strength and value of our networks and the popular programming they offer.”

“Cable One has been in negotiations to renew our contract with Turner Network for the past several months and we have made every effort to reach a fair deal,” Cable One CEO Tom Might said in a statement. “However, Turner has demanded an increase of nearly 50% for channels with steadily declining ratings. Since we were unable to reach a fair deal with Turner, we’ve been forced to drop these channels from our channel line-up.”

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Les Moonves: ‘It’s good to be back’ on Time Warner Cable

A month ago, when CBS stations first went dark for Time Warner Cable customers, CBS CEO Les Moonves told the LA Times that they were “at war” with the cable company.

As the blackout persisted, the rhetoric only heated up. Now that a deal is done (just in time for the US Open finals and the start of the NFL season), Moonves is striking a more friendly tone toward the company he was at war with, while still acknowledging the rough month.

“This has been a difficult time for our viewers and for CBS. I am glad it’s behind us,” Moonves wrote to staff. “After a terrific summer of programming, we now all look forward to the new television season. It’s good to be back.”

The good news for CBS is that ratings were not significantly affected, though most shows were down slightly. The bad news for consumers is that feuds like these will likely only increase over the next few years, as content companies seek higher carriage fees from cable companies, which in turn are trying to keep prices low so consumers don’t bail on them.

Moonves’ letter to CBS staff, below.
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Les Moonves: ‘Never in my most pessimistic moments’ Could I Have Predicted TWC Stall

This morning the CBS Corporation announced a deal with Verizon Fios to extend their retransmission consent agreement, and to add CBS Sports Network to a lower tier. Following the announcement, CBS CEO Les Moonves sent a note to staff applauding the deal, and sharing some new thoughts on the Time Warner Cable situation.

That memo, which was obtained by TVNewser, shows frustration on the part of Moonves with TWC, and also sheds some light on what may be a sticking point between the two companies.

I cannot describe to you the frustration I feel at the way these negotiations have gone. Never in my most pessimistic moments did I ever think that they would have lasted this long and have been so difficult. In many aspects of the deal, Time Warner Cable is demanding different terms than any other company in the business. I am frankly mystified by what appears to be a lack of urgency to resolve this matter for their customers.

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Al Jazeera America Sues AT&T Over Dropped Carriage

Al Jazeera America has filed suit against AT&T, alleging that the company breached its contract by dropping AJAM the day it launched. AT&T’s Uverse TV product dropped Current TV just a few hours before it switched to AJAM, citing a “contract dispute.”

“Unfortunately AT&T’s decision to unilaterally delete Al Jazeera America presented us with circumstances that were untenable — an affiliate that has willfully and knowingly breached its contractual obligations,” reads a statement from AJAM. “Accordingly, we had no choice but to take this action and to enforce Al Jazeera America’s rights under its agreement with AT&T — and to compel AT&T to do the right thing.

“Al Jazeera America’s strong hope is to resolve this matter quickly so that AT&T’s customers will have access to our unbiased, fact-based and in depth coverage of the news that is important to Americans,” the channel added.

Time Warner Cable dropped Current after Al Jazeera acquired the channel, but it is accepted that TWC had a clause in its contract permitting it to do so if ownership changed. It is not believed that AJAM’s other carriers had similar clauses, making AT&T’s last minute drop all the more puzzling. Typically a carrier would be compelled to carry the channel through the end of the agreement, unless there was a specific “out” clause.

Alison Stewart’s Path from Anchor to Author: ‘It’s a Little Bit Art, a Little Bit Archeology’

When it comes to career paths, Alison Stewart prefers jungle gyms to ladders.

“Instead of ‘climbing the ladder’ and going straight up through the ranks, you zig zag your way up, like on a jungle gym” says Stewart, referencing Sheryl Sandberg’s bestseller, ‘Lean In.’ “I could never explain it before. I just kept getting good offers at places, so I took them.”

After zig zagging from MTV to CBS to ABC to MSNBC to PBS, Stewart’s latest incarnation is as author. ‘First Class: The Legacy of Dunbar, America’s First Black Public High School,’ her inaugural book, was released earlier this month. Both her parents graduated from the Washington, D.C. school.

Stewart began working on ‘Dunbar’ in 2006, while at MSNBC. Five years later, she left her job as cohost of PBS’s ‘Need to Know’ to focus fulltime on the book, and to care for her ailing parents. They later died.

“I always wanted to write a book,” says Stewart, 47, a Brown alum. “I had been offered a ‘Hey, I was at MTV, then at the networks, what did I see?’ deal, and maybe I’ll write that book someday, but I wanted to dig into something that would have some kind of lasting value beyond being entertaining.”

Stewart found herself in a race against time, since many of the early Dunbar grads were in their 80s and 90s. She recorded their memories of the legendary school, which in its prime produced the first black member of a presidential Cabinet, the first black general of the U.S. Army and the first black federal judge.

“I loved talking to people, going into their homes, spending hours with them,” says Stewart, who often traveled by bus from New York and crashed on friends’ couches to minimize expenses. “The research was my favorite part. You discover things. It’s a little bit art, a little bit archeology.”

The writing process, however, was an altogether different experience. “It was a lot lonelier than I expected,” says Stewart, who is married to Bill Wolff, VP of MSNBC primetime and executive producer of “The Rachel Maddow Show.” They have a five-year-old son, Isaac.

“I had to go from being part of a TV show I really liked, to having very little human contact. I hung out with my kid a lot. I took guitar classes. I had to be a lot more proactive about being with other moms — I was ‘class mom’ for two years in preschool.”

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CBS Blacks Out Online Video For TWC Customers, As Competitors Note The Battle

The CBS/Time Warner Cable dispute has entered day three, and there does not appear to be an end in sight for the blackout that has resulted in CBS Stations being pulled for subscribers to the cable company. The latest updates:

CBS has blocked Time Warner Cable broadband customers from watching full episodes of shows on CBS.com, an effort to limit the places customers can watch CBS shows and put pressure on TWC. CBSNews.com video does not appear to be affected yet.

Meanwhile, TWC has replaced CBS’ plum channel two slot with the Starz Kids & Family channel, on what it is calling a temporary basis. TWC previously threatened CBS by saying the channel two slot is not guaranteed to be theirs when they return.

NBC’s “Today” even covered the dispute at 7:30 this morning (watch below), as did “Good Morning America” (watch here). “CBS This Morning” did not cover the dispute, although TWC customers wouldn’t have been able to see it on CBS anyway.

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CBS Pulled From Time Warner Cable, CBS CEO: ‘We Are Now At War’

At midnight ET, after multiple temporary extensions, CBS and Time Warner Cable failed to come to terms on a new retransmission consent agreement, and the companies say CBS feeds will be pulled as soon as possible. Showtime, Flix, The Movie Channel and Smithsonian Channel are also being pulled.

Millions of Time Warner Cable customers will be affected, including those in New York City, Los Angeles and Dallas, three of the largest TV markets in the country. As of 12:15 AM, WCBS was still available on Time Warner Cable in New York City.

“We are now at war with Time Warner Cable,” CBS CEO Les Moonves said to the LA Times’ Joe Flint.

“The outrageous demands for fees by CBS Corporation have forced Time Warner Cable to remove several of its networks,” TWC said in a statement. “We offered to pay reasonable increases, but CBS’s demands are out of line and unfair – and they want TWC to pay more than others.”

Update: Shortly after 12:30 AM Time Warner Cable said in a statement that is returning CBS network signals to subscribers. It is unclear whether this is another temporary extension, or a permanent deal. Stay tuned.

AM Update: CBS will remain available while the two sides continue to negotiate. New deadline is Friday. ”CBS and Time Warner Cable have agreed to continue discussions,” CBS says.

CBS, Time Warner Cable Extend Carriage Negotiation Deadline

CBS and Time Warner Caable agreed to extend the deadline to come to a new carriage agreement until Monday. The temporary extension will keep CBS and Showtime on TWC cable packages through the weekend, while the two sides try to hash out a deal.

If a deal is not reached, Time Warner Cable customers in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas would lose access to the channels, and CBS would take a ratings hit while negotiations continue. TWC also threatened to permanently remove CBS from the “channel 2″ slot, arguing that if the network wants to be paid like a cable channel, then it should have no guarantee of channel placement. It is absolutely a negotiating ploy, but it is one of the stronger arrows in the cable company’s quiver.

The New York TimesBill Carter has more.

War of Words Between CBS And Time Warner Cable Heats Up

Time Warner Cable and CBS have until 9 AM on Thursday to hammer out a deal to continue carrying the channel, otherwise subscribers of the company will lose access to the broadcast network. The deadline had been Wednesday afternoon, but FCC rules don’t allow blackout during a sweeps period, pushing the deadline to Thursday.

In an email to CBS staff, CBS CEO Les Moonves said that it was a “very real threat” adding  ”as you can imagine, we don’t take this situation lightly.”

If CBS were to be dropped from Time Warner Cable, viewers in New York City, Los Angeles and Dallas, among other places, would find themselves without access to the network, and it would almost certainly affect its ratings.

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