SYRACUSE -- Time Warner Cable says it has reached a long-term deal for rights to retransmit Fox 68 (WSYT), My43 (WNYS) and 26 other television stations owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, in markets where Sinclair and Time Warner deal with each other.
"We're pleased to reach a long-term agreement with Sinclair Broadcasting without any interruption in service for our customers," said Rob Marcus, Time Warner cable President/COO, in a written statement released late this afternoon.
Sinclair confirms the news in a similar announcement on its own website -- saying the two companies have "entered into a multi-year agreement" for retransmission of the 28 stations that were at risk of being dropped from cable lineups on New Year's Eve. Since then, temporary extensions (one announced Jan 1st, the second announced two weeks later) have kept Sinclair stations on cable lineups across the country.
The new deal between Time Warner and Sinclair ends a battle that started in the Fall, when it first became apparent that the two might not be able to reach a new deal before the old long-term contract expired on New Year's Eve.
Along the way, some published reports indicated just how intense the battle was -- saying Sinclair wanted an average of 10 cents more, per channel, per subscriber, per month, from Time Warner. Conversely, Time Warner had reportedly said it was willing to pay more for "big four" network affiliates (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox), but it didn't want to pay a single penny for CW and MyNetwork affiliates. Adding to the drama, Fox said it would offer its network feed directly to Time Warner Cable, if things ever got to the point where Sinclair actually pulled its Fox stations off the cable lineups.
Of course, the final terms of the agreement were not released by either side, and as usually is the case, they probably never will be. For most Syracuse-area cable customers, we'll guess the only thing that matters is that they'll still be able to watch the Super Bowl this Sunday, along with popular Fox shows like Glee, American Idol, Family Guy and The Simpsons.
Interestingly, Sinclair's announcement also says Time Warner Cable "will produce a 6:30am, 6:00pm and 11:00pm half-hour local news program, Monday through Friday, on Sinclair's ABC affiliate, WXLV-TV, in Greensboro/Winston-Salem, NC beginning January 2012." Time Warner already has a newsroom in Greensboro for "News 14 Carolina," which is similar to the YNN 24/7 local cable news operations that cover much of upstate New York. We haven't heard of anything similar in the works for Syracuse, but it's easy to imagine the possibilities.