CBS and Time Warner Cable negotiate as deadline approaches

CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves, shown in May 2012, sold CBS shares this week for about $22 million.
CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves, shown in May 2012, sold CBS shares this week for about $22 million.
(Evan Agostini / Associated Press)

With the deadline for a new deal to keep CBS-owned media outlets in Time Warner Cable homes just hours away, CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said conversations between the two companies are still going on.

“It is a very difficult negotiation,” Moonves told reporters Monday morning at the semiannual Television Critics Assn. Press Tour in Los Angeles. “I hope we don’t go dark.”

The two sides have been stuck on agreeing on a dollar figure that Time Warner Cable will pay to carry CBS-owned TV stations, including KCBS-TV Los Angeles and WCBS-TV New York. The current pact -- an extension of the existing contract -- is set to expire at 2 p.m Pacific Time.

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While neither have discussed the specifics of negotiations, Wall Street analysts and media industry insiders say CBS is seeking a long-term contract that would start at a price tag of close to $2 per-subscriber, per-month. Time Warner Cable has said it is willing to pay more for CBS but that the network is asking too much.


“We feel like we should be paid for our programs,” Moonves said.

The deal is only for CBS-owned stations and not all CBS affiliates around the country. While Time Warner Cable has roughly 12 million subscribers across the nation, about 3 million would be affected by CBS stations going dark. Besides New York and Los Angeles, the other major market that will be impacted is Dallas.

However, CBS’s cable properties, including Showtime and the CBS Sports Network, could be lost to all Time Warner Cable subscribers if a new agreement for the stations isn’t reached.


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