Time Warner Cable has reached a tentative agreement to end its dispute with SinclairBroadcast Group to continue carrying Sinclair local stations in Time Warner Cable markets, and said late on Saturday it hoped to reach a final deal within a week.

The second-largest U.S. cable operator and the broadcaster of local TV station affiliates such as FOX and ABC channels wrangling over a programing agreement that was due to expire at the end of 2010, but extended negotiations until January 14.

Sinclair had been threatening a blackout if an agreement was not reached by the end of the year, a move that would have affected about 4 million Time Warner Cable customers.

Cable companies pay broadcasters such as Sinclair to run their local stations on their networks, and negotiations over fees sometimes result in these kinds of disputes.

(Reporting by Nick Zieminski, editing by Maureen Bavdek)