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CBS backhands TWC as it hops back in bed with Verizon

CBS already has some of the sleaziest soaps on network television, but now it’s starring in its very own daytime-drama style series on the public stage; and it looks like some of the network’s nastiest work yet. 

The news peg here is that CBS and Verizon just inked a deal that lets Verizon carry the networks’ channels on its FiOS TV service. FiOS will even get to expand its offerings of CBS’ sports channel into markets that it hasn’t been available in previously.

Granted, in and of itself, this news is about as notable as misbehaved politician – pretty much you’re standard day-to-day business happening. But the way in which CBS made its announcement is tantamount to a grade-schooler sucker-punching a classmate. 

You don’t  have to read between the lines of CBS’ press release to plainly see that this announcement is an intentional jab at Time Warner Cable (TWC) over a dispute that has TWC customers in three huge markets – New York, Dallas and Los Angeles – going without CBS programming, including everything from The Price is Right to Dexter. Although this isn’t the first time we’ve seen content providers and content carriers come to verbal blows over disputes ( Dish Networks CEO had some choice words for CBS’ CEO Les Moonves over his objection to Dish’s auto-hop feature, and Direct vs. Viacom was none too pretty, either) this ranks as one of the skeeviest we’ve seen in a while. 

In the statement, Ray Hopkins, President of Television Networks Distribution at CBS said, “This deal was reached in a short period of time…” later adding, “Verizon…provides excellent service to its expanding number of subscribers, and we are glad that this partnership will continue and grow.” 

As if that weren’t blatant enough, later in the release CBS flat-out calls TWC out on the carpet stating, “CBS owned stations in various Verizon markets including New York, Los Angeles and Dallas, will continue to be distributed to FiOS TV subscribers.”

Disputes like this usually end up resolving themselves in relatively short periods of time, but CBS’ row with TWC has stretched on for almost a month at this point and, based on this little slap in the face by CBS, it seems it will continue for at least a little while longer.

Meanwhile, networks continue to sort out deals that would bypass cable and satellite providers entirely. Sony’s recent deal with Viacom is the most recent example of that.