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Local cable provider can continue carrying Fox network shows in Buffalo even if local broadcast station is dropped

Time Warner Cable is telling local subscribers it will continue to carry Fox network programs into January and beyond. That’s even if its deal with the owner of WUTV, the local Fox affiliate, expires and the station is dropped from the local cable system.

WUTV, owned by Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcast Group, could disappear from the Time Warner lineup Jan. 1 if no retransmission deal is reached.

But local Time Warner officials said last week that they have an arrangement that will allow the cable system to continue carrying Fox’s national programming even if WUTV is dropped from its programming lineup. It also would allow Time Warner subscribers to watch the Super Bowl, which Fox will air in early February.

Language in the deal that Time Warner struck last January with Fox Broadcasting allows the cable company to carry Fox network programming for up to a year in markets where the local Fox affiliate is pulled from the lineup.

Time Warner’s agreement with Sinclair to carry its stations, including WUTV, will expire at the end of the month. Sinclair operates 20 Fox affiliates and 38 other stations — including WNYO in Buffalo — that are affiliated with other networks.