Time Warner Cable, Sinclair in Contract Stalemate

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Time Warner Cable ( TWC) will have to drop Sinclair ( SBGI) stations in 2011 if the two companies cannot negotiate an agreement before their contract expires at the end of the year.

Sinclair would like to negotiate a renewal of their current deal but does not believe that the two companies will be able to reach an agreement.

"It appears to Sinclair that Time Warner is not interested in reaching agreement on a renewal," Sinclair said in a statement posted on its Web site.

Today, Sinclair announced that Time Warner has refused its offer to submit to binding arbitration before a neutral third party concerning their current retransmission consent disagreement.

"Time Warner Cable has now demonstrated no real interest in a fair arbitration process," Sinclair executive vice president Barry Faber said. "Time Warner Cable is attempting to tilt the playing field in their favor rather than allowing an impartial third party the opportunity to make a reasoned decision based on all applicable information."

Time Warner Cable responded this morning, saying it had agreed to arbitration but that Sinclair had declined the offer.

"Unfortunately, this sort of behavior is typical when negotiating with Sinclair," said Time Warner Cable in a statement. "We'd still like to reach an agreement or enter into arbitration with Sinclair, so that we can provide our customers with uninterrupted programming, and we're hoping that Sinclair will begin to act in a more reasonable manner."

Without a new contract, Time Warner Cable will lose the right to carry the broadcast of 33 television stations located in 21 markets across the nation. The stations include 10 News Corporation ( NWSA) Fox affiliates and 5 Disney ( DIS) ABC affiliates.

-- Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.

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