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Another cable fight: Spectrum could cut Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and more

Trevor Noah, the host of “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” on Comedy Central.
Trevor Noah, the host of “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” on Comedy Central. Comedy Central

Spectrum customers watching Viacom channels such as Comedy Central, VH1 and Nickelodeon this weekend were warned via a screen crawl that all Viacom channels were about to be dropped by Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable).

Charter (parent company of Spectrum) and Viacom are in contract negotiations that had a deadline of Sunday (Oct. 15) at 7 p.m. A “short-term extension” (neither party will define “short-term”) has been agreed to while the companies continue to negotiate.

On Twitter, the Spectrum customer support account (Ask_Spectrum) is telling customers, “Spectrum is currently working with Viacom to reach an agreement that is fair for everyone,” but the warning messages are still present on Viacom channels as of Monday morning.

Viacom is also using some of the stars of shows on their networks to encourage fans to call Spectrum and complain. On Sunday night, Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” posted a video on its Facebook page with Trevor Noah asking fans to call Spectrum and ask them to keep Viacom channels. Martha Stewart’s Twitter account also asked fans of “Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party” on VH1 to call Viacom and complain. (Season 2 of “Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party” starts tonight on VH1.)

Viacom says they are not asking for an increase in carriage fees from Spectrum – in fact, the media company says they have offered a discounted rate to the cable giant. Charter counters that Viacom has been “overpaid for their channels over the recent years,” that their business is suffering and that they’re asking Spectrum to carry channels that few people watch, such as MTVU, MTV Live, BET Gospel, BET International and NickMusic.

Variety reports that relations between Viacom and Charter have been strained for awhile. In May, Charter moved Viacom channels to a higher-priced tier.

What about WRAL and AT&T?

In local carriage dispute news, Capitol Broadcasting Company (the parent company of WRAL and Fox 50 and WILM in Wilmington) enters week five of its outage on AT&T U-verse. In that fight, CBC is asking for an increase in the retransmission fees paid by AT&T. Two weeks ago Capitol gave out 4,000 HD antennas to local AT&T customers, but the two companies say they are still negotiating.

Viacom channels

▪ Comedy Central

▪ Nickelodeon (all Nick channels)

▪ VH1

▪ MTV (all MTV channels)

▪ TV Land

▪ BET (all BET channels)

▪ Spike

▪ CMT

▪ Logo TV

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