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CBS Getting Huge Ratings Even In The Middle Of The Time Warner Dispute
At a subway entrance in Manhattan today I saw a video ad shouting that there would be no preseason Jets coverage on TV this year, because mean old Time Warner had blocked CBS from airing for Time Warner subscribers. It remains unclear to me what CBS hopes to gain in taking their dispute with Time Warner to the consumers-- but it's becoming clear that CBS might have so many other viewers outside of Time Warner that it won't matter to them anyway. As The Los Angeles Times reports, CBS had the best ratings of any network over the past week, even with 3.2 million potential viewers in New York, Dallas and Los Angeles completely blocked from watching the network.
CBS got dropped from TWC earlier this month and remains blacked out alongside Showtime-- tonight, while the rest of the country watches Big Brother, New Yorkers will be treated to a screening of Cars 2 on Starz Kidz, the network that for some reason has replaced CBS on Time Warner. But Big Brother apparently doesn't even need us. Last week the endlessly controversial show brought in more than 6 million viewers on both Wednesday and Thursday nights, and its Sunday episode had 7.14 million viewers, the biggest audience the show has had all summer. CBS's other big summer hit Under the Dome is also doing just fine, with 10.4 million viewers for Sunday's episode-- the most viewers for any broadcast in the entire week. Overall CBS had 6 of the week's 10 biggest programs, not a surprise for the perpetually #1 network, but a major victory in their ongoing dispute with Time Warner for sure.
Why are CBS and Time Warner fighting? Why else-- money. CBS wants to start charging more for Time Warner to carry their channels, and Time Warner wants to prove how badly CBS needs them by dropping them entirely. That gambit seems to be backfiring, given how well CBS is still doing, but they're still likely to come to an agreement eventually-- local CBS affiliates in New York, Dallas and Los Angeles are suffering during the blackout, and there's enough advertising money to be made in all three cities that they'd be crazy not to strike a deal. I wish I were in a position to ditch Time Warner and take a stand for how ridiculous this entire fight is, but Time Warner is the only cable provider for my address, and wifi is about as important a utility to me as running water. For now, the 7 million of you watching Under the Dome will have to keep me up to date.
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