HUNT VALLEY, MD., and NEW YORK: Sinclair and Time Warner Cable are still at a standoff over retransmission terms, and talks have been extended by 24 hours to midnight Saturday, SNL Kagan’s Sarah Barry James reported this morning. The carriage contract between the two expired on New Year’s Eve, but was extended by two weeks. That extension was set to expire tonight. Sinclair offered to push the negotiations out for another week, but TWC would only draw it out for another day, James said.
Sinclair’s Barry Faber told James his side didn’t believe there was “any realistic chance” that an agreement could be reached by Saturday night. The broadcast collective has 33 TV stations on Time Warner Cable systems. Unlike previous retrans stand-offs, Time Warner possesses and ace in the hole. Should Sinclair elect to pull its signals, the cable operator has secured permission to carry alternative network feeds for all the Big Four (ABC, NBC, CBS & Fox) TV stations. AP is reporting that Time Warner plants to “import broadcast signals from other cities.”
Sinclair earlier this week announced it reached an agreement with Fox to extend its station affiliate deals through the end of 2012. The original term was set to end March 31, 2012. SBG said it secured a programming licensing agreement with Fox that allowed it to do retransmission consent deals for the remainder of the term. No details were provided about how or if that might weigh on the Time Warner negotiations. Sinclair has 12 Fox stations on Time Warner cable systems.
-- Deborah D. McAdams