Charter, Viacom Reach Agreement in Principle

Charter Communications and Viacom said they have reached an agreement in principle, adding that the programmer's networks will remain available to customers as final details are worked out.

Viacom's carriage deal with Charter originally expired on Oct. 15, but the companies had agreed to a short-term extension. That reprieve seems to have been enough for the two to work out the bones of a deal.

"Viacom and Charter have reached an agreement in principle," the companies said in a joint statement Tuesday night. "Spectrum subscribers will continue to have access to Viacom’s networks, without disruption, while we finalize terms.”

Just what those terms will be is anyone's guess, although Viacom had said previously that it offered its networks to Charter at a price lower than what the distributor had been paying. In addition, some analysts have suggested that Charter would take on fewer Viacom channels as part of the deal. Viacom has about two dozen channels, but in February said it would focus mainly on six core networks -- MTV, BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Spike (renamed the Paramount Network).