After agreeing to another short-term contract extension, 24 Tribune Media-owned network affiliates remain on AT&T U-verse (NYSE: T).
However, the station group has set a new imminent deadline -- Wednesday at 3 p.m. EST -- for a new broadcast retransmission deal to be signed. Without such a deal, Tribune said stations including CW affiliates KTLA-TV in Los Angeles and WPIX-TV in New York will be blacked out for U-verse's nearly 6 million video customers.
"If we cannot come to an agreement, AT&T U-verse will no longer carry KTLA until a new contract is established," said a message on KTLA's website headlined "final notice."
The companies' previous retrans deal expired Sept. 30, concurrent with several other notable broadcast licensing agreements. Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) and Tegna engaged in a one-day blackout before forging an agreement earlier this month.
An impasse between AT&T's DirecTV unit and Media General was more quickly and quietly resolved.
For its part, AT&T has been quiet in terms of releasing statements, unwilling to fuel the usual rhetoric associated with this level of brinksmanship.
It's unclear as to what terms are being demanded by either side. However, AT&T just re-upped its U-verse carriage deal with Viacom. The agreement called for terms that match what the much larger DirecTV pays the conglomerate by the end of the contract.
AT&T boasted that it had negotiated the "best deal in the industry" for Viacom.
Meanwhile, station groups like Tribune are facing the very likely prospect that the FCC will make significant changes to rules governing broadcast retransmission negotiations. Stations groups are trying to carve the best terms they can before these rules change.
- read this Broadcasting & Cable story
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