Charter keeps Univision on the air for now following hearing delay

Charter Communications sign (use this one)

The delay last week of a hearing in Univision’s breach-of-contract suit against Charter Communications prevented the broadcaster from pulling its channels off the MSO’s program guide.

According to news site RBR, the Manhattan judge assigned to oversee the case didn’t return to the bench as planned for the Feb. 9 hearing. The site says the hearing is now set for “later this month.”

RELATED: Charter blackout lift only good until Feb. 9, Univision says

Univision blacked out its channels on the No. 2 cable operator late last month. But a judge temporarily assigned to the case ordered the channels temporarily restored until the permanent judge could return to the litigation for the Feb. 9 hearing.

“For the seven-day period that it is receiving Univision’s services, Charter Spectrum will be required to post a bond covering the actual market value of Univision’s programming, rather than the inadequate rates that Charter Spectrum has been paying,” Univision said, explaining the temporary injunction. 

Reps for both Charter and Univision have yet to respond to FierceCable’s inquiries for comment. 

After a legal dispute dating back to last summer, Univision blacked out its channels on the No. 2 cable operator earlier this week. In addition to the flagship Univision network, the blackout included the UniMas broadcast network and cable channels Galavision, El Rey and Univision Deportes. 

Charter is defending itself not just against Univision, but also 21st Century Fox and CBS Corp. over the cable company’s attempt to use superior content-licensing agreements acquired during the company’s purchase of Time Warner Cable. The plaintiffs say Charter has illegitimately posed in negotiations as having been acquired by TWC, and not the other way around, so as to leverage the TWC contracts and their superior terms. 

In the case of Univision, Charter’s legacy contract with the broadcaster just expired, while TWC’s doesn’t end until 2022.

“We have a contract with Univision and expect them to honor it,” Charter has repeatedly stated. 

For its part, Univision said it "remains ready and willing to meet at any time with Charter Spectrum to engage in comprehensive, good-faith negotiations for the long term carriage of our stations and networks. To date, Charter Spectrum has steadfastly refused to engage in such negotiations.”