As the expiration date for its retransmission
consent agreement with Time Warner Cable draws near, CBS CEO Les Moonves issued
a memo to employees Tuesday stating that its stations in several key markets
could go dark later this week.
CBS and Time Warner Cable have been embroiled in a war of
words over the past few days, as the cable operator claims the broadcaster is
demanding a rate increase that is more than 600% above what other CBS
affiliates charge. CBS claims it is seeking fair compensation for its programming,
which is among the highest rated on television.
"This dispute has escalated over the past few days, and
there is a very real threat that Time Warner Cable is going to drop our
stations in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas (and possibly Showtime) off the
air Thursday morning," Moonves wrote in the memo. "As you can imagine, we don't
take this situation lightly."