Carriage deal saves 'Mad Men' on AT&T for season opener

AT&T subscribers who are fans of "Mad Men" rejoice... you'll be able to watch the start of the fourth season on AMC July 25.

The latest carriage deal imbroglio between a pay-TV operator (AT&T U-verse) and a programmer (Rainbow Media and its AMC, IFC and WEtv networks) took the two beyond the 12th hour into overtime negotiations before they could agree on a deal.

AT&T in a statement said it was pleased to have a reached a deal:

"We're very satisfied that we were able to reach the fair deal we wanted for our customers -- one that includes the right content, across platforms, at prices that are in line with the marketplace, and that helps us with important strategic content initiatives."

That's a far cry from its position just a day earlier when it accused Rainbow, a unit of Cablevision, of negotiating in bad faith, charging more than it cost AT&T competitors to carry the channels and saying Rainbow's tactics harmed competition and limited consumer choice.

Rainbow had threatened to pull its content from U-verse when the agreement between the two expired at midnight Wednesday.

For its part, Rainbow/Cablevision is also "pleased to have reached an agreement with AT&T for AMC, WE tv, IFC and Sundance Channel that truly recognizes the value of our networks," Rainbow said in a statement. "We look forward to continuing our partnership with AT&T and are excited to continue to bring their subscribers our award-winning programming."

The battle between the two is just the tip on the iceberg as far as carriage deals are concerned, and it's an berg that won't be affected by global warming. In fact, the chilly state of affairs between programmers and operators will get more headlines in coming weeks as the fee-dispute between Disney and its ABC, ESPN and Disney Channels lock horns with Time Warner Cable. The deadline? Sept. 2. Stay tuned.

For more:
- see this release

Related articles:
U-verse could lose 'Mad Men'
Verizon inks FiOS TV content deal with Rainbow Media
Thumbs down for Orange content exclusivity
Comcast finally lands NBC Universal