Nick Jr., Comedy Central channels stay as talks continue

Photo of Lauren Stanforth

Popular cable channels like Nickeloden and Comedy Central were still on the air Monday after Viacom threatened that programming would go dark because of failed negotiations with Spectrum.

Variety reported Monday that negotiations continue between Viacom and Spectrum's parent company, Charter Communications. The channels remained Monday morning, although with the fake news crawl Viacom had put on them that asked customers to call Spectrum to demand they settle the dispute to keep programming going.

The deal technically ended Sunday, which could have meant mean Nickeloden, Nick Jr., MTV, Comedy Central, BET and CMT were no longer available to more than 16 million subscribers.

Viacom had been running advertisements last weekend on the channels asking subscribers to call Spectrum and complain.

Both companies claim unfair negotiation tactics on each side. Viacom is also using the dispute as an opportunity to blast Spectrum since it was created from the merger of Time Warner Cable and Charter last year.

"Since the merger, conditions for many Spectrum subscribers have worsened considerably. From unexplained price hikes, spotty service, deceptive consumer messaging, dismal customer service, and employee and labor disputes, Spectrum has consistently been in the news," Viacom says in a statement posted online about the negotiations.

Viacom is referencing a strike since March of 1,800 of members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3 in the New York City area. The union has alleged Spectrum wants to gut its health care and retirement benefits, while Spectrum has filed a lawsuit alleging union members have committed acts of sabotage by cutting lines and disrupting customer service.

Viacom says as part of a negotiated deal to keep the channels, Spectrum wants to limit its available programming instead of providing savings in monthly cable bills. Spectrum, however, says Viacom is demanding too much money to broadcast their channels.

"Unfortunately, by threatening to pull their channels, Viacom is dragging you into the middle of their business negotiations," Spectrum posted in an online statement. "We are negotiating with them in good faith and are optimistic that a fair deal can be reached."