TO: Glenn Britt, Time Warner Cable
Chase Carey, News Corp.
CC: All other execs involved
FROM: Cynthia Littleton, Variety
RE: New Year’s Eve
Please allow me to make an eleventh-hour appeal on humanitarian grounds in the matter of the Fox Television Stations’ retransmission consent negotiations.
I appreciate the complexity of the issues at stake for both companies, and I recognize that the best minds in both companies have been tackling the problem for some time. But I appeal to you in the spirit of fair play and revelry. The contract deadline of midnight Thursday, while understandable as being the close of the calendar year, puts us on a collision course with the hallowed tradition of ringing out the old and bringing in the new with a bang. I firmly believe it will cast a bad vibe on 2010 if the year starts with us engulfed in work rather than celebrating with family, friends and a glass (or three) of bubbly.
Let’s face it — the issues aren’t going to change between 8 p.m. ET Thursday and 8 a.m. ET Friday. So if you can’t come to terms before then, how about both sides agree to one of the following options: A) Call a 12-hour truce; B) Do what you gotta do well before midnight; C) Wait until dawn.
What I most want to avoid — and I think I speak for many of my journalist colleagues — is having to spend all night checking the Blackberry every few minutes and fielding dueling press releases.
I’m not taking sides in this fight, but I am compelled to note that I spent New Year’s Eve ’08 following the Time Warner Cable-Viacom carriage tussle. The post-midnight ET settlement agreement in that situation came just in time to blow my whole night. And this time around, my family has really cool plans for kicking up our heels at a certain theme park in Anaheim, Calif.
Thank you for your consideration. Believe me when I say I wish both sides the best of luck in the search for a mutually agreeable solution during the next two days.
Happy New Year,