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CNBC Retains N.Y. Cable Slot

Time Warner Cable's flagship New York City system last week backed down from a plan to move CNBC from channel 15 to channel 64, where the business-news network would have been slotted between a porn channel and Home & Garden Television.

The original channel switch — in which Bravo would have moved from channel 64 to channel 15 — caused a bit up an uproar in New York. Indeed, the news made it onto the front page of The New York Post, which ran several stories.

Some critics perceived the switch as system's parent AOL Time Warner Inc.'s way of punishing CNBC and favoring its struggling CNNfn channel, which is positioned on channel 27.

The changes were part of several realignments that that will go into effect on the nation's largest system on Sept. 5.

A Time Warner Cable New York spokeswoman, Harriet Novet, said the system planned to bump CNBC not because it wanted to favor AOL Time Warner-owned networks, but because it wanted to reward Bravo for improving its channel with new investments in programming.

NBC — which owns 25 percent of Bravo parent Rainbow Media Holdings — worked out an agreement with Bravo to leave CNBC and the arts network in their current channel positions, and the system signed off on it, Novet said.

"Because of CNBC's relationship with Bravo, NBC and Bravo were able to work out an agreement whereby CNBC will stay at channel 15 on Time Warner's New York cable system," said an NBC spokesman. "Time Warner agreed to allow CNBC to maintain its current channel position." Rainbow representatives didn't immediately return calls last Friday morning.

Novet said there were also "economic considerations" involved, but declined to comment when asked if NBC paid the system to remain on channel 15. One high-level industry source familiar with the talks said NBC didn't pay the system to keep its channel position.