CBS and Showtime Go Dark in Retrans Fight With Time Warner Cable

CBS and Showtime Go Dark in Retrans Fight With Time Warner Cable

The blackout went into effect on Friday at 5 p.m. ET

Time Warner Cable has dropped broadcast cable network CBS and premium cable network Showtime in several markets, including New York City, Los Angeles and Dallas, CBS announced on Friday.

"This is the first time in its history that CBS has been dropped from a cable system. Time Warner Cable, on the other hand, has a long history of taking channels off the air — more than 50 in the last five years alone," a statement from CBS read. "It has also chosen to drop Showtime, which is owned by CBS, a move that is completely unnecessary and totally punitive to its subscribers."

Also read: CBS's Standoff With Time Warner Cable Heats Up; Blackouts Could Happen Next Week

The decision went into effect at 5 p.m. ET and marks the first time CBS and Showtime have allowed their signal to go dark during a retransmission dispute.

"Showtime Networks' customers nationwide have had their services disrupted by Time Warner Cable today, when for the first time in Showtime history a distributor has chosen to remove the network's programming – despite the network's authorization to allow carriage while negotiations continue," Showtime's statement read.

"Our customers chose to subscribe to Showtime, and Time Warner Cable in turn chose to pull our service from the subscribers we both serve. Attempts to reach an extension on negotiations were denied by Time Warner Cable, resulting in Showtime going dark in major markets."

TMC, FLIX and Smithsonian are also going dark as a result of the failed negotiations that began after a 2009 agreement expired at the end of June. The deadline for the negotiations was originally July 24, but has been pushed back several times since.

Also read: CBS, Time Warner Cable Agree to New Extension in Retrans Standoff

TWC blames the blackout on CBS' refusal to engage in "productive discussion" and "not willing to come to reasonable terms."

"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," TWC said in a statement. "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."

Markets affected include New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston, Tampa, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte, San Diego, Columbus, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Austin and Detroit, among many others.

The blackout, which CBS and Showtime hope "will be short," will affect 3.5 million homes, approximately 29 percent of Time Warner Cable's video subscriptions.

It comes at a bad time for golf fans, as TWC subscribers will not have access to CBS Sports' live coverage of the World Golf Championships: Bridgestone Invitation, at which Tiger Woods is leading as the network heads into third-round coverage on Saturday.

If the dispute is not resolved by Aug. 8, TWC subscribers will also miss out on CBS Sports' coverage of the season's final major, the PGA Championship, which runs through Aug. 11.

"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 will not sign away rights not granted to others," CBS' statement continued. "We will not give up our channel position or any other asset by which our viewers identify us. We will also not be subjected to pointless maneuvers like a series of one-hour extensions and mini-drops that do nothing for either side but annoy our viewers."

Read the full statement from CBS, below:

Effective 5:00 PM Eastern Time, Time Warner Cable has dropped CBS in New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas and several other markets. We deeply regret this ill-advised action, which is injurious not only to our many affected viewers, but also to Time Warner Cable itself. Throughout this process, Time Warner Cable has conducted negotiations in a combative and non-productive spirit, indulging in pointless brinksmanship and distorted public positioning – such as the fictional and ridiculous 600% increase CBS supposedly demanded – while maintaining antiquated positions no longer held by any other programming distributor in the business. CBS, for its part, is eager to make an agreement in line with the kind it has struck with every other cable, satellite and telco provider, and has continually sought reasonable term extensions to get that job done. This is the first time in its history that CBS has been dropped from a cable system. Time Warner Cable, on the other hand, has a long history of taking channels off the air – more than 50 in the last five years alone. It has also chosen to drop Showtime, which is owned by CBS, a move that is completely unnecessary and totally punitive to its subscribers.

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 will not sign away rights not granted to others. We will not give up our channel position or any other asset by which our viewers identify us. We will also not be subjected to pointless maneuvers like a series of one-hour extensions and mini-drops that do nothing for either side but annoy our viewers. We hope and believe this period of darkness will be short and that we can all get back to the business of providing the best entertainment, news and sports to the Time Warner Cable customers we both serve.