Following a number of extensions, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Time Warner Cable finally formalized a multiyear retransmission consent agreement, covering 28 TV stations in 17 markets.
Terms were not disclosed, but the deal does have an interesting twist. As part of the agreement, TWC will produce three local half-hour newscasts at 6:30 a.m., 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. for WXLV-TV, Sinclair's ABC affiliate serving the Greensboro/Winston-Salem, N.C., market.
The deal was not without the usual drama and accompanying finger-pointing. Still, the two parties managed to avert a blackout on New Year's Eve, when the contract was up, by agreeing to extend negotiations, leading to an agreement in principle Jan. 15.
During the negotiations, the calls for retransmission consent reform grew louder, and by December, the Federal Communications Commission promised it would open up a proceeding in first quarter. Insiders are betting that ruling will come sometime in March.