"It's good to be back," CBS president and chief executive Leslie Moonves said Monday in a memo to his staff. About 3.5 million viewers of the network would probably agree, after their service was restored Monday following a settlement in its month-long dispute with Time Warner Cable.
"This has been a difficult time for our viewers and for CBS. I am glad it's behind us," said Moonves. "After a terrific summer of programming, we now all look forward to the new television season."
The CBS chief admitted the standoff – which began on Aug. 2 -- went on longer than he thought it would. It affected 3.5 million homes -- nearly a third of Time Warner Cable's subscribers. Cable networks Showtime, TMC, FLIX and Smithsonian also went down in the failed negotiations that began after a 2009 agreement expired at the end of June.
"This was a far more protracted dispute than anyone at CBS anticipated, but in spite of the pain it caused to all of us, and most importantly the inconvenience to our viewers who were affected, it was an important one, and one worth pursuing to a satisfactory conclusion," Moonves said in his note. "That has been achieved."
The sides had grappled over a handful of issues, and at one point had hammered out agreeable terms on fees -- but negotiations got hung up in CBS' apparent refusal to make its digital assets free to TWC customers. TWC then proposed offering CBS on an "a la carte" basis to cable customers; the network scoffed at the idea.
The onset of pro football season next weekend – CBS broadcasts NFL games – appeared to have pushed the two sides to an agreement, however.
Moonves cited his appreciation for the key players on his team in the standoff.
"I want to take this opportunity to thank all of those who worked so diligently – around the clock in many cases – to produce this excellent outcome,' he continued. "Thanks go to our chief operating officer, Joe Ianniello, who spearheaded the negotiating efforts, and to Ray Hopkins, our new president of television distribution, who was our chief negotiator.
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"Supporting their efforts were the tireless teams at Law, Marketing, Communications and virtually every other department in our company, all of whom came together to make sure this important job was done right."
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