Time Warner Cable went for the nuclear option: The cable provider has dropped CBS and Showtime from its lineup.
According to the networks, this marks the first time either has been fully dumped by a cable provider. The move comes as CBS (whose parent company owns Showtime) and TWC re-negotiate their carriage contract, with the top-rated broadcaster seeking more revenue for its popular programming. The networks gave TWC an option to continue airing their content while negotiations continued, yet the cable outlet elected to begin the process of pulling the plug at 5 p.m. EST on Friday, saying CBS “refused to have a productive discussion.”
The move follows weeks of negotiations and will impact millions of cable subscribers in several major TV markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Boston.
“We deeply regret this ill-advised action, which is injurious not only to our many affected viewers, but also to Time Warner Cable itself,” CBS said in a statement. “Throughout this process, Time Warner Cable has conducted negotiations in a combative and non-productive spirit, indulging in pointless brinksmanship and distorted public positioning … What CBS seeks, and what we always have sought from the beginning, is fair compensation for the most-watched television network with the most popular content in the world. We will not accept less … We hope and believe this period of darkness will be short and that we can all get back to the business.”
“The service interruption is not only completely unnecessary, but totally punitive to our subscribers, and will impact and inconvenience millions,” added Showtime in a statement. “Unfortunately, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks subscribers will be denied access to new episodes of the climactic eighth and final season of Dexter, and the most popular freshman series the network has ever had, Ray Donovan.” Both the dramas have new episodes on Sunday night.
Time Warner Cable issued this response: “We agreed to an extension on Tuesday morning with the expectation that we would engage in a meaningful negotiation with CBS. Since then, CBS has refused to have a productive discussion. It’s become clear that no matter how much time we give them, they’re not willing to come to reasonable terms. We thank our customers for their patience and support as we continue to fight hard to keep their prices down.”