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Green Bay Press-Gazette

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Time Warner could get out-Foxed again

Remember that dispute a little over a year ago with WLUK and Time Warner Cable -- you know, the one that sent Green Bay Packers fans scurrying to Wal-Mart for cheap antennas like they were Tickle Me Elmo dolls?

Then there was the heavily threatened Viacom blackout of 2009 that resulted in Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and MTV almost getting yanked off TW boxes before the New Year started.

Well, Time Warner is at it again, this time with the Fox Network over broadcast fees. However, as a Press-Gazette story stated today, Northeastern Wisconsin customers won't miss out on Sunday's Packers season finale against the Arizona Cardinals or the Jan. 12 return of "American Idol."

Time Warner Cable reps said the ongoing dispute doesn't involve many popular Fox channels including Fox News, Fox Sports Wisconsin and regular Fox programming available through WLUK. Instead, the affected Fox channels include FX, Fuel, Speed, Fox Reality, Fox Soccer and Fox Sports Espanol -- and let's face it, other than "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" (which is done for the season), who the heck watches those stations?

Anyway, if a new deal isn't reached by midnight, Time Warner customers will lose those extras, but initial reports made it seem much, much worse.

The AP also reported earlier today that Fox refused to accept Time Warner Cable’s offer to carry its broadcast signal while the fee dispute continues. Chase Carey, chief operating officer of Fox owner News Corp., told staff in a memo that a signal interruption was likely when the current deal over fees expires at midnight, halting service to millions of viewers.

Fox argues it needs to be paid more for broadcast signals that are retransmitted to subscribers of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.

-- Channel Surfing

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