Time Warner Cable and Sinclair Broadcast Group announced that on New Year's Eve that they reached an extension agreement that will keep the big four networks on through Jan. 14.
The announcement said it only means that stations carried by Sinclair -- which includes affiliates of CBS, Fox, CW, ABC and NBC - will be carried without interruption through that date. Negotiations will continue.
Sinclair Broadcasting carries the signal for local affiliates of networks and provides them to Time Warner Cable. The company asked Time Warner for a higher fee, amounting to about 10 cents per subscriber, according to Sinclair. Sinclair would not say what the current per-subscriber fee is. Sinclair's General Counsel Barry Faber said that typically, stations get from 90 cents to $4.
Time Warner refused to pay the increase, though it said in a statement that it was willing to negotiate.
Sinclair carries 20 Fox, 17 of MyTV, nine ABC and CW, two CBS and one NBC station. The company says it reaches about 22 percent of U.S. households. Most of those are in smaller markets, such as Dayton, Ohio, or Syracuse, N.Y., because in larger markets such as New York City the local affiliates are owned by media conglomerates or even the parent networks.
Time Warner customers will still get some Fox programming, because the cable company has a separate agreement with Fox to provide national broadcasts. So popular TV series such as The Simpsons, which is broadcast nationally, would still be on. But the local newscast would not.