Sides move closer to deal as talks continue

Amid rising political pressure, Fox channels stayed on Time Warner Cable systems past the Thursday midnight contract expiration as the sides continued to negotiate well into the early hours of New Year’s Day.

While the situation remained fluid, sources close to the talks indicated that progress was being made toward a deal.

Shortly after midnight on the East Coast, Time Warner released a statement saying Fox had granted a “brief extension” of the contract while the sides continued to haggle at the bargaining table. Fox has been under pressure from lawmakers to grant a temporary extension in order to prevent its stations and cable outlets, including FX, from going dark as of Friday.

FCC chief Julius Genachowski joined the chorus on Thursday as the clock ticked down on the contract deadline. News Corp. chief operating officer Chase Carey on Wednesday rejected Sen. John Kerry’s call for a temporary extension and arbitration. On Thursday, Genachowski said pointedly in a statement that the companies should not force “cable-watching football fans to scramble for other means of TV delivery on New Year’s weekend.”

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