FEE BATTLE Time Warner, CBS draw viewers into spat

Associated Press


CBS and Time Warner Cable can’t work out their differences, so they want viewers to help settle the fight.

Three million Time Warner Cable customers in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and other cities remained without access to CBS for a third day Sunday, after the cable provider dropped the network in a spat over fees.

The blackout meant some customers could miss Tiger Woods at Bridgestone Invitational, as well as shows including “60 Minutes.”

The two sides couldn’t agree on the status of their talks either, with CBS saying Sunday that no negotiations were taking place. A Time Warner representative, Maureen Huff, maintained that “talks continue.”

In the meantime, the two New York-based companies have been taking their cases to the public, with full-page print ads.

A CBS ad Sunday showed a TV screen with shots of the shows people wouldn’t be able to watch, including “The Big Bang Theory” and “Big Brother.” “Call Time Warner Cable now,” the ad urged. “Tell them you want your CBS 2 back!”

Time Warner Cable customers who turned to CBS this weekend were greeted by a message saying the network had made “outrageous demands” for fees. It advised viewers that they could still see their favorite shows through several ways, including “using an antenna to get CBS free over the air.”

Time Warner cut off CBS for viewers in select markets Friday, saying the network is demanding retransmission fees that are out of line with what it pays other broadcasters.

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