Time Warner Cable and CBS Corp. have called off their game of chicken for a couple of hours.
With a deadline expiring this afternoon, the two companies agreed to an extension of their current distribution deal until 5 p.m. Pacific time. The previous deadline was 2 p.m.
The two sides have been trying for weeks to come to terms on a distribution deal for CBS-owned TV stations, including KCBS-TV Channel 2 and KCAL-TV Channel 9 in Los Angeles and WCBS-TV in New York, as well as cable channels Showtime and CBS Sports Network.
At issue is a fee for the CBS properties. The network is seeking a big increase for its stations, which Time Warner Cable is resisting. CBS, which is the most-watched TV network, argues that it is undervalued compared with cable channels that have lower ratings but collect higher distribution fees from pay-TV operators.
Time Warner Cable has countered that it is willing to pay more for CBS but that the network is being too aggressive.
Media analyst David Banks of RBC Capital Markets said in a recent report that CBS is looking to increase the fee Time Warner Cable currently pays from less than $1 per subscriber per month to a figure approaching $2 in the first year and with subsequent increases in later years.
This is the second time in a week that CBS and Time Warner Cable have agreed to keep the signals on as they continue to negotiate.
Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.