Millions of Fox fans will not have to go without their favorite shows after all.
The TV network and Time Warner Cable agreed to a long-awaited deal late Friday, preventing a threatened blackout that would've stopped Fox watchers from seeing their favorite football games, prime-time shows or any other network programming.
Fox said earlier this week it would yank its 14 networks from Time Warner once the contract between the parties expired at midnight Thursday, New Year's Eve.
Fox and Time Warner announced New Year's Eve they would continue the talks into 2010, and reached an agreement Friday afternoon.
The terms of the agreement were not disclosed in full, but a statement from Fox and Time Warner called the negotiations "fair" and clarified that the deal would also include Bright House Networks.
"We're pleased that, after months of negotiations, we were able to reach a fair agreement with Time Warner Cable -- one that recognizes the value of our programming," said Chase Carey, deputy chairman at News Corp., which owns Fox.
Football fans were in a frenzy this week wondering whether they could watch the Sugar Bowl game, a matchup won in blow-out fashion by the Florida Gators.
Fox Chief Executive Glenn Britt said the "reasonable deal" would provide "no disruption in programming" for Fox customers.
The TV network requested before its contract with Time Warner expired that it be paid $1 per cable subscriber each month for sharing its signals with the cable corporation. The request for signal fees is Fox's attempt to compete with networks like the Walt Disney-owned ESPN, which earns subscriber fees and allows the sports-only network to outbid Fox for sports events.
Had the signals been pulled, Fox would've lost ad revenue from big-time TV events like the season premieres of "American Idol" and "24" as well as the 20th anniversary special of "The Simpsons," all airing in January. Time Warner would've likely suffered a consumer backlash from failing to provide Fox coverage.
Published at 4:55 AM EST on Jan 2, 2010
Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York