The latest cable-carriage spat -- this one between AT&T and Rainbow Media -- is making a football of the season debut of "Mad Men," and more than 2 million customers may miss the AMC hit's season four debut.
Rainbow's three cable channels IFC, WE tv and AMC -- which carries "Mad Men" -- are involved in the disupte with AT&T's U-Verse TV service, which reported having 2.3 million subscribers around the country in April.
Talks between AT&T and Rainbow are not going well.
AT&T and Rainbow released dueling statements on Wednesday morning, hours before their existing deal is set to expire at midnight.
Rainbow's statement on the day of the deadline said: "Our executives have been at AT&T U-Verse offices for several weeks, doing everything possible to reach an agreement that will keep AMC’s “Mad Men,” and other programming ... available to their customers. We have been good partners and have been supportive of AT&T since they launched their U-Verse service."
AT&T charged Rainbow Media of not negotiating in good faith" and of "trying to charge significantly more than the average of what our TV competitors pay for these channels."
Rainbow Media is owned by Cablevision, a company with a history of ugly, public contract disputes. In the past year alone, Cablevision has had similar clashes with ABC/Disney and the Food Network.
Unless Rainbow and AT&T kiss and make up by signing a new contract or extending the deadline to continue talks U-Verse subscribers will lost AMC, IFC and WE tv at midnight tonight.
TheWrap will be staying up late to post updates on the situation as it develops.