Time Warner Cable has countered that CBS is demanding an outrageous increase in the distribution fees and that it is trying to keep costs down for its customers.
Negotiations between the two companies broke off Friday and probably will resume in the coming week, although the bad blood has both companies digging in for what could be a long fight.
While neither company will go into details about how wide the gulf is between them, media analysts and people close to the negotiations said CBS is seeking a significant increase in distribution fees. Its last contract negotiation with Time Warner Cable was five years ago and it feels it is underpaid compared to several cable networks that get higher fees but have lower ratings.
CBS is currently getting less than $1 per subscriber, per month from Time Warner Cable and would like to get that figure into the $2 neighborhood over the life of its next contract, according to executives involved in the talks who declined to speak publicly while about private negotiations.
As is often the case in these feuds, some consumers are taking to Twitter and elsewhere to express their anger about the blackout. Time Warner Cable appears to be taking more heat than CBS, although many customers are angry at both companies.
In the case of CBS and Time Warner Cable, the longer the signals are off, the more likely the two companies will start to feel heat from lawmakers and regulators to come to some sort of accord.
As fall gets closer, Time Warner Cable will feel more pressure to agree to a deal because of the football games CBS carries, including the New York Jets.
Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.