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LA City Council Asks FCC To Aid CBS/Time Warner Feud

LA City Council Asks FCC To Aid CBS/Time Warner Feud

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A Los Angeles City Council committee today adopted a resolution urging the Federal Communication Commission to step into the drawn- out fee dispute that has left millions of viewers unable to access CBS-owned  channels for four weeks.

More than a million Time Warner Cable subscribers in Los Angeles and as  many as 3 million nationwide saw their CBS and other CBS-owned channels go dark  this month amid a deadlock between the television network and cable provider  over re-transmission consent fees.

The City Council's Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Relations  Committee forwarded the resolution -- which backs FCC involvement in any  legislation or administrative action in the dispute -- to the full City  Council.

The committee asked that CBS and Time Warner Cable be invited to speak  on the issue when it goes to the City Council. The city's Information  Technology Agency also was asked to give a report on the dispute.

Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., has requested the FCC bring together the  two parties ``so negotiations can be concluded in an equitable and expeditious  manner and that carriage is restored by the parties at the earliest possible  time so that consumers are not long caught in the middle,'' the motion said.

CBS channels first went dark on Time Warner at 2:20 p.m., Aug. 2. The  channels being blocked by Time Warner include CBS-owned and operated Los  Angeles stations KCBS and KCAL, Showtime and the Smithsonian network.

In lieu of CBS2 programming, Time Warner has been airing programs from  STARZ. Other CBS channels now feature a notice that says Time Warner is being  asked for excessive fees to air CBS programming.

``We regret this inconvenience, but feel it is crucial that we we let  CBS know that we're willing to do what it takes to keep down the price of TV,''  the notice said.

Time Warner broadband subscribers trying to watch programs online at  CBS.com have been greeted with the words ``content not available'' and an ad  slamming Time Warner.

A statement issued by CBS derides Time Warner's decision to drop  Showtime along with the television outlets, calling it ``a move that is  completely unnecessary and totally punitive to its subscribers.''

CBS executives in New York City declined to say how much of a fee  increase the network seeks, nor how much Time Warner was offering.

Time Warner also has blocked Showtime and CBS-owned and operated TV  stations in New York City and Dallas.

 

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