Time Warner Cable lifts CBS blackout for N.Y. political debate

Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:10am EDT
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By Liana B. Baker

(Reuters) - Time Warner Cable Inc will lift a blackout of the local CBS station in New York briefly on Thursday so subscribers can watch a candidate debate in the New York City Comptroller race.

If the blackout continues, the company will also broadcast the Republican mayoral debate on August 28 and the Democratic mayoral debate on September 23. But subscribers will still be unable to watch any regular CBS shows.

A CBS spokesman confirmed the temporary lifting of the blackout at 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT) on Thursday.

Despite the temporary return, neither side indicated they were any closer to a deal to end the 21-day blackout. Most analysts expected the two parties to reach a deal by the time the National Football League season kicks off in September.

Time Warner Cable said on Wednesday it will offer a free preview of the Tennis Channel during the U.S. Open tournament to customers affected by the blackout.

CBS went dark on August 2 for an estimated 3.5 million Time Warner Cable customers in major markets, including New York and Los Angeles, after the two companies failed to reach an agreement on distribution terms.

CBS signed a programming deal with Time Warner Cable's New York City rival Verizon FiOS on Thursday.

(Reporting by Liana B. Baker; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

The Time Warner Cable office is shown in Carlsbad, California November 5, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Blake