The peaceful resolution of Fox’s spat with Time Warner Cable, the first big retransmission-consent fight between a broadcast network and a cable provider, ushered in 2010 — which is certain to bring more clashes as broadcast networks search desperately for ways to supplement falling advertising revenue.
“Retransmission consent will be the next big battleground,” a top TV studio executive said last month, weeks before negotiations between top-rated Fox and second-largest cable operator TWC escalated and then reached a standoff.
After months of tense talks and mudslinging, complete with dueling Web sites and attack ads on TV and in newspapers, Fox and TWC announced midday Friday that they had reached a deal in principle after a marathon negotiating session that began at 9 a.m. Thursday.
Through a series of short extensions, Fox and several Fox cable channels, which were supposed to go dark as the previous carriage agreement expired midnight Thursday, stayed on TWC systems while the parties negotiated. More…