As you've probably heard, on New Year's Eve, while you were blissfully greeting 2009 with the Jonas Brothers, Viacom and Time Warner Cable resolved their contract dispute, which had threatened a January 1 blackout of MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and sixteen other even less important channels for 14.7 million subscribers in New York, L.A., and other big markets. Viacom had reportedly demanded an additional $39 million per year for the honor of broadcasting its high-quality programming (which they claimed would only cost viewers an extra 25 cents a month), and Time Warner had allegedly balked, since upping subscriber fees even a little during an economic apocalypse would be a total dick move. But now everything's been settled! The terms of the agreement? They're not saying! Will we have to pay more? Almost certainly!
Viacom's networks, like pretty much all networks, are facing a recession-fueled ad slump that'll likely cut deep in 2009. So, they've already laid off 7 percent of their staff and solemnly pledged to produce only terrible, cost-efficient reality shows for well into the foreseeable future. And now they're asking you to help too! Even a tiny rate increase, combined with Governor Paterson's hilarious proposed tax on cable, practically ensures that we'll all be paying lots more for TV this year. Which would be completely annoying even if it weren't the fault of MTV, makers of Bromance, The City, and a bunch of other crap that nobody's watching anyway. What ever happened to the à la carte cable they keep promising us?
TW, Viacom settle cable dispute [Variety]