FOX, Time Warner Dispute Nears Midnight Deadline
Yet, unless the nice folks at News Corp, the corporation that owns and operates FOX, and Time Warner Cable can come to some agreement tonight, sports fans across the country in 13 million homes are going to find themselves without their football fix to get through the long weekend.
That's because the deal by which FOX permits Time Warner to retransmit signals from its channels expires at midnight tonight.
That means if you subscribe to Time Warner in an area with a local station that is owned by FOX, say New York or Los Angeles, you might want to have one of those fancy new digital antennas, otherwise you won't be able to see the Philadelphia-Dallas NFL game Sunday or Friday's Sugar Bowl or Saturday's Cotton Bowl programming on those stations, if the deal doesn't get done by then.
Likewise, Speed, Fuel, FOX Soccer and FOX Sports en Espanol, as well as a number of FOX Sports Net regional sports networks that are programmed by FOX, will all go dark on Time-Warner systems.
In a nutshell, what's at issue here is (what else?) money. In a down economy, where advertising revenues are off, FOX officials want to charge Time Warner $1 per subscriber for the Fox television network, as well as fees for other FOX channels.
Time Warner officials, meanwhile, are offering $.30 per subscriber for the FOX network -- home of television's most popular show, "American Idol." FOX officials have rejected Time Warner offers for binding arbitration.
They also have declined requests to keep the programming airing past the Thursday deadline as the parties negotiate, saying that to do so would only allow Time Warner more time to make more money off their product.
As the deadline draws near, expect Fox on-air personnel to gently suggest to viewers to put pressure on Time Warner to make a deal, while Time Warner officials will almost certainly deflect the blame back to FOX.