CBS, Time Warner Cable Reach Pact to Air NYC Debates

Separately, cable op offers Tennis Channel for free during U.S. Open tourney to customers affected by the Eye's blackout

Time Warner Cable Blackout

CBS and Time Warner Cable have agreed to suspend the blackout of the Eye in Gotham — but only long enough to air debates among candidates in two of New York City’s political races.

The New York City Campaign Finance Board announced Wednesday that the companies agreed to air WCBS-sponsored debates despite their ongoing retransmission-consent dispute, which is in its third week.

On Thursday, Aug. 22, Time Warner Cable will air debate on WCBS among candidates in the Democratic primary election for comptroller from 7 to 8 p.m., after which the Eye will go dark again. If there’s no final deal by next week, cable op will air Republican primary mayoral debate Wednesday, Aug. 28, from 7 to 8 p.m.

“We are very pleased that these two institutions have chosen to look past their differences and provide all New Yorkers the best opportunity to see these important debates,” CFB chairman Father Joseph Parkes said in a statement.

CBS and Time Warner Cable reps confirmed the plan.

SEE ALSO: Why the FCC Is Not Taking Action to End the CBS Blackout on Time Warner Cable

Time Warner Cable subs have not been in danger of being deprived of debate appearance by sex-scandal-plagued Anthony Weiner, who has entered the Democratic primary race for mayor. That’s to be aired by WNBC on Sept. 3.

WCBS has been dark on Time Warner Cable since Aug. 2, when talks broke down. The Eye’s stations in L.A., Dallas and other markets are also off the air, while Showtime Networks and three other cablers have been pulled from Time Warner Cable lineups nationwide.

Separately, Time Warner Cable announced Wednesday it will offer digital customers in New York, L.A., Dallas and other areas affected by the CBS blackout a free preview of Tennis Channel during the US Open Tennis Championship Series from Aug. 26 through Sept. 9.

Tennis Channel will broadcast close to 240 hours of U.S. Open coverage, including 75 hours of live coverage, with exclusive primetime matches Labor Day weekend. Time Warner Cable subscribers also have access to live U.S. Open matches to be telecast on ESPN2 and CBS Sports Network, which is unaffected by the dispute.

SEE ALSO: Time Warner Cable Subscribers Sue Over CBS, Showtime Blackout

If the dispute is still unresolved by Sept. 23, CBS and Time Warner Cable will suspend the blackout for a potential debate on that evening if there’s a Democratic runoff for mayor.