Viacom, Charter agree to extend renewal deadline, source says

Charter Communications and Viacom have agreed to a short-term carriage extension, avoiding a blackout upon the expiration Sunday of their current deal.

Now customers on Spectrum plans are able to watch 23 channels under Viacom's umbrella, which makes up about 20 percent of all cable viewership, without an additional charge under a basic cable subscription.

"Viacom is committed to developing strong, mutually beneficial relationships with our distribution partners. From unexplained price hikes, spotty service, deceptive consumer messaging, dismal customer service, and employee and labor disputes, Spectrum has consistently been in the news", Viacom says in a statement posted online about the negotiations. "While we're making every effort to reach a new deal, Charter's actions may force a disruption in their service".

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If the cable companies can't come to terms and the 23 networks go dark on Sunday, Viacom could see a 16 percent decline of its affiliate revenue, equating to a loss of some $760 million dollars, according to Deadline.

"Viacom has made a series of very attractive offers to Charter that are consistent with terms we've recently reached with other large cable operators".

On Monday morning, Spectrum customers saw TV scrolls across the bottom of the screen on some of the channels at risk for being dropped if a deal between Viacom and the cable provider fall through.

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Viacom previously said approximately 16.5 million Spectrum customers may lose more than 20 channels including MTV, VH1, Nick, Spike (which is rebranding as Paramount Network) and Comedy Central due to a contract dispute. Martha Stewart's Twitter account also asked fans of "Martha and Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party" on VH1 to call Viacom and complain.

"Viacom is threatening to remove their channels, unless Spectrum agrees to significantly overpay for them", Spectrum said on the website. Spectrum customers continue to be able to access Viacom's cable networks as discussions continue.

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