AT&T slams Cablevision for "unfair" Mad Men talks

Wed Jul 14, 2010 6:56pm EDT
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By Yinka Adegoke

NEW YORK (Reuters) - AT&T accused Rainbow Media on Wednesday of unfair negotiations in talks to continue carrying the AMC, IFC and WE TV networks less than two weeks before Emmy award-winning advertising drama "Mad Men" returns to the airwaves.

The telephone company accused Rainbow of giving a "competitive advantage" to its parent, Cablevision Systems, which competes with AT&T's U-verse TV services in Connecticut.

The latest season of the period drama "Mad Men" returns to AMC on July 25 as one of the main attractions of that network.

Rainbow hit back at AT&T's claims, saying its executives spent several weeks at U-verse's offices trying to hammer out an agreement.

"We are disappointed that AT&T is publicly threatening to take away our networks, including AMC's 'Mad Men,' just days before the season premiere," the company said in a statement.

Cable and satellite companies pay fees to cable network companies for the right to package and sell those networks to customers.

The current agreement between AT&T and Rainbow expires at midnight on Wednesday and the phone company said it has made numerous proposals.

"Cablevision's Rainbow Media has rejected each of them, instead making unreasonable proposals that give it an unfair competitive advantage," the company said in a statement.   Continued...