LOS ANGELES - Cablevision Systems Corp and Scripps Networks Interactive Inc said on Thursday they reached a fee agreement paving the way for Food Network and HGTV channels to return to Cablevision, beginning that day.

Both companies were earlier at an impasse over what fee Cablevision should pay Scripps to distribute HGTV and Food Network in Cablevision homes.

Their earlier fee agreement expired at midnight on Dec. 31, and the two channels went dark for the 3 million or so Cablevision subscribers in the New York area.

In a statement on Thursday, both companies noted their primary focus throughout the process was to work as hard as possible to return Food Network and HGTV to Cablevision customers at the soonest possible date.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

This is the resolution everyone wanted and to have achieved anything less would have been a profound disappointment, said John Lansing, executive vice president of Scripps and president of the Scripps Networks operating division.

Cablevision thanked its customers for their patience and understanding as it worked with Scripps to reach a fair agreement.

In early January, cable operator Cablevision accused Scripps of holding viewers hostage as it sought a 200 percent fee increase.

Scripps said that, under the old contract, Cablevision was paying about 25 cents per subscriber for the combination of Food Network and HGTV. It said that rate was substantially lower than rates earned by other, individual top 10 cable networks. (Reporting by Sue Zeidler, Yinka Adegoke; writing by Anupreeta Das; editing by Andre Grenon)