CBS blackout dispute threatens football fans

NEW YORK — It’s one thing for a business dispute to knock out CBS programming in some three million homes during rerun season. Football season is another matter, and there’s little immediate cause for optimism.

There has been no reported progress in negotiations between CBS Corp. and Time Warner, which has blocked CBS programming from its customers’ homes in Dallas, Los Angeles, and New York since Aug. 2. They are at odds over a deal to carry CBS on Time Warner, most prominently over retransmission fees that the cable operator pays to CBS per subscriber.

Talks are expected to continue over the Labor Day weekend. Meanwhile, Time Warner customers caught in the middle will miss third and fourth round competition in the US Open tennis tournament. The tournament’s finals are next weekend, which is also opening weekend for the National Football League.


CBS believes the start of football will increase public pressure on Time Warner to get a deal.

‘‘I’m not optimistic,’’ said Jack Myers, an analyst whose Myers Report newsletter is widely followed in the television industry. ‘‘There have always been settlements in the past when they come up to big sports events. But this time, they’re really playing it for keeps.’’