TCM Goes Dark For Viewers in 19 States

OsborneAs if the government shutdown wasn’t bad enough news, Turner Classic Movies was dropped today by the nation’s tenth largest cable provider in a dispute over carriage fees, a move affecting more than 720,000 customers in 19 states.

Cable ONE, owned by the Washington Post Company, removed TCM from their lineup at 12 p.m. (ET) today, along with Turner Broadcasting networks CNN, CNN en Espanol, Headline News, TruTV, and Boomerang. Following this move, according to a message posted on the Cable ONE Facebook page, TBS, TNT, and Cartoon Network were “deauthorized” for Cable ONE customers by Turner. Cable One calls this “retaliation for us dropping their less popular programming,” a comment which will undoubtedly irk loyal TCM viewers.

“Turner has demanded an increase of nearly 50% for channels with steadily declining ratings,” CEO Tom Might said in a statement on the Cable ONE website. “Since we were unable to reach a fair deal with Turner, we’ve been forced to drop these channels from our channel line-up.”

Might’s comment about “steadily declining ratings” may not be entirely accurate, at least in the case of Turner Classic Movies. At the fourth annual TCM Classic Film Festival in April, V.P. of Programming Charles Tabesh was asked how much pressure he was under to generate higher ratings for the network.

“Zero,” he said. “We don’t get ratings. We’re not even allowed to get ratings.”

Not surprisingly, Turner responded with their own statement.

“Turner has a long history and well-earned reputation as a fair and reasonable partner to our distributors and we have worked diligently with Cable One to come to a resolution, even offering an extension that expired at noon today,” the company said. “We are simply asking that Cable One pay the established and accepted rates already in the marketplace for our portfolio and remain willing to discuss a new agreement that recognizes the strength and value of our networks and the popular programming they offer.”

Cable-One-InternetCable ONE serves customers in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, South Dakota, and Washington.  The provider, which is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona has said that they will credit customers “for the time these channels are missing” and will “continue to negotiate with Turner to reach an agreement that is fair for everyone.”

This blackout may be tough for classic film lovers, but baseball fans have it even worse. The playoffs start tonight on TBS, with the National League wildcard game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds.

CableOne

About willmckinley

Will McKinley is a New York City-based writer, producer and classic film and TV obsessive. He’s been a guest on Turner Classic Movies (interviewed by host Robert Osborne), Sirius Satellite Radio and the official TCM podcast. Will has written for PBS and his byline has appeared more than 100 times in the pages of NYC alt weeklies like The Villager and Gay City News.
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19 Responses to TCM Goes Dark For Viewers in 19 States

  1. Jennifer says:

    That’s terrible!

  2. Pat Hobby says:

    The government shutdown is nothing, losing TCM is a disaster.

  3. Thank heavens we don’t have this problem. I am not saying it couldn’t happen, we Dish TV subscribers lost CBS for over a week a few months back…I was getting desperate wondering how I was going to get my shows from my favorite network…but if I lost TCM I would have to go into mourning…I hope the viewers on CableOne will fight back.

    • willmckinley says:

      Sandi, unfortunately there’s not much they can do, other than vocally complain. And then Cable ONE will blame it on Turner. And say, “We’re just trying to protect our customers from greedy conglomerates.” Both parties have a case to make. But the consumer gets caught in the crossfire.

  4. Thanks for keeping us informed, Will ! :-)

  5. I was without TCM for a month while my cable provider underwent an analog/digital reconversion and still recall the ache.

  6. Dan Auiler says:

    Reblogged this on HITCHCOCK'S VERTIGO and commented:
    NO!!

  7. NOOOOOO!!! Those poor people! I would be devastated… I hope it’s restored soon.

    I’m sure inane fare like “Two and a Half Men” is still available to everyone? Further proof that life is not fair.

  8. colorable says:

    I just cut the cord on Cable as I am not paying to watch Sports. Unfortunately its because of Sports that the cost of cable is going up. I just want to to watch TCM and so devastated right now.

  9. Pingback: TCM Goes Dark on DISH Network | cinematically insane

  10. ruth hankins says:

    im missing Hln. i watch that channel every night when will we be getting it back

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