Finally turning into the homestretch of what has proved a long, difficult rollout, Fox Sports West 2 on Wednesday struck a deal with Time Warner Communications, clearing a huge hurdle that will put the regional sports service into more than 340,000 TW homes in Southern California — most by Dec. 1.Time Warner is the second-largest cable operator in the area with its base in the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, Orange County and South Pasadena/San Marino. It trails only Continental Cablevision in number of Southern California subs. The agreement leaves only Century (No. 3 in area subscriber homes) and Comcast as the lone holdouts in adding FSW2, which launched Feb. 1 amid a din of cable operator hostility and bad blood. Operators at the time were angered by what they saw as extortion in being made to pay a second monthly per-sub fee for the Fox Sports West spinoff, which carries Dodgers baseball, Mighty Ducks hockey and Clippers basketball games. After building slowly, however, FSW2 now boasts carriage in 2.5 million homes some 9-1/2 months after launch. It has less than 400,000 to go before it reaches full distribution. “With the Time Warner launch … we are closer to our goal of full penetration in Southern California,” said Kitty Cohen, G.M. for FSW and FSW2, in a statement.
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