Without programming agreement, Rainbow will 'go dark' on AT&T

Storm clouds are forming over Rainbow Media and AT&T (NYSE: T). Rainbow wants a pot of gold to provide channels like AMC, We TV and IFC to AT&T; the service provider thinks they're not worth the price--at least in the way they're being presented by Rainbow. The result could be that AT&T viewers are shut out of the season debut of "Mad Men," among other less-stellar programming that could be pulled from U-Verse as a result of the dispute.

AT&T says it does not have a problem with AMC but finds some of Rainbow's other tactics irksome. "They're also trying to force the renegotiation of a contract for one of their other channels that is not yet expired and force us to carry a new channel," said an AT&T spokesman. "We want our customers to know we can't and won't give in to unreasonable deals."

Based on this and previous brouhahas between content and service providers, it would seem a good idea to follow the adage to avoid tossing rocks around glass houses. That, though, seems to be Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) doing with an ad campaign that warns Time Warner Cable's contract with Disney (remember them from the Academy Awards staredown with Cablevision) expires in September, and "you don't have to wait to find out if you will keep your favorite shows. Switch to FiOS."

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