CBS, Showtime go dark on Time Warner after talks fail

Updated 12:30 a.m. ET

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. CBS Corp. (CBS) and Time Warner Cable (TWC) were unable to reach a deal on the availability of TV programming in three major markets around the U.S., leading the service to drop the network.

Six CBS TV stations have gone dark for around 3 million Time Warner Cable customers in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas at midnight, ET. The announcement came after hours of late night talks and extended deadlines that continued to pass without resolution. Both parties are continuing discussions.

"In spite of all our efforts to hammer out a fair agreement, Time Warner Cable has dropped CBS and Showtime from its channel lineup effective midnight EDT," CBS Corp. said in a statement. "Meanwhile, they continue to engage in a public campaign of disinformation and voodoo mathematics (featuring wildly inflated percentages) while doggedly restating their positions. Time Warner Cable seems incapable of accepting the concept that the value of a company's programming should be in line with its popularity."

The network said that in the end an agreement would eventually be reached and continued to hope it would be reached soon.

CBS Inc. and Time Warner Cable Inc. have been in the public spat over fees in the markets.

The disagreement centers mainly on how much Time Warner Cable pays for the right to retransmit signals from the CBS-owned stations.

Dozens of blackouts have occurred nationwide in fee fights over the years, but many get resolved at the last minute.

Selling retransmission rights has become a big business for broadcasters such as CBS. Research firm SNL Kagan estimates retransmission fees will reach $3 billion industrywide this year and double to $6 billion by 2018.

Time Warner Cable has said it's resisting a fee hike demand by CBS so prices don't go up for customers. CBS said Time Warner Cable isn't agreeing to terms that its competitors have accepted.

If the fight continues, some Time Warner Cable customers could lose access to new episodes of "Under the Dome" and the 15th season of "Big Brother." Both are available online after a slight delay.

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