CBS, Time Warner end blackout

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It’s over: CBS Corp. and Time Warner Cable announced today that they have reached a new agreement. Service for the 3 million-plus subscribers who have been without service since Aug. 2 will resume at 6 p.m. ET today.

And just in time, too! The first NFL game of the regular season is set to air on CBS on Sept. 8.

Specific terms were not disclosed. The new deal involves CBS stations and Time Warner Cable systems in New York (WCBS and WLYW), Los Angeles (KCBS and KCAL) and Dallas (KTVT and KTXA).

The blackout started when Time Warner balked at CBS’ demands for a subscriber increase from $1 to about $2. Since cable customers pay more than $5 for ESPN (which doesn’t air a full lineup of programming like the Masters, The Big Bang Theory, the Grammys, or the NCAA Tournament), the broadcast company didn’t think $2 was too much to ask. But TWC argued that CBS programming is still free over the air to homes and refused to pay. Ergo, a infuriating blackout that left fans of Under the Dome and Big Brother without their favorite programs.

The dispute prompted some court activity. In a class action lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, three customers charged that they subscribed to TWC service because of CBS-owned channels like CBS and Showtime but have been unable to access them due to the ongoing coverage blackout.

Meanwhile, CBS also tried to save face by saying the blackout had a minimal effect on ratings.


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