Retransmission update: Time Warner Cable, Belo time almost up; Cablevision, Fox get nasty

When it comes to retransmission agreements (disagreements might be a better descriptor) the fun never seems to end for Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC-WI). The nation's second biggest MSO, having just settled a deal with Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS), now faces a Sept. 25 deadline to work out a deal with Belo and its 12 stations.

The rhetoric sounds about the same as it has all year.

TWC, in a statement, said Belo is "demanding a huge increase in what we pay--and will pull the plug if we don't pay up." Mike Devlin, president-general manager of Belo's ABC affiliate WFAA-TV in Dallas used the station's website to send viewers scurrying off to find off-air antennas to get the station's signal. "Time Warner charges you for some channels you have probably never seen and others you hardly watch at all," Devlin wrote. "But what about channels such as WFAA: the most watched channel in North Texas?"

On what will undoubtedly be a bigger stage, Cablevision Systems (NYSE: CVC) and Fox Broadcasting are heating up their negotiating tactics with just less than a month until an Oct. 15 deadline. Fox has armed itself first, running selected scare ads and relaunching its website.

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