Fox Closing In on Agreement With Charter

Fox Networks Group is moving towards a deal with Charter Communications, according to FNG President and COO Randy Freer.

Fox began warning Charter subscribers that they could lose the Fox broadcast network, FX, National Geographic and Fox regional sports networks two weeks ago because their distribution deal was expiring.

After the deadline, a series of extensions have been agreed to and in the past few days Fox has stopped running ads urging viewers to seek alternatives to Charter.

"We're working out the issues," Freer said.

One of those issues involved Fox News Channel, which sued Charter because after acquiring Time Warner Cable, Charter began paying TWC's lower affiliate fees in Charter markets.

Settling that suit may be part of the agreement.

Fox News is on a separate contract from Fox Networks Group, even though both are part of 21st Century Fox.

"We go to market as one company," Freer said.

Fox News' affiliate relations were consolidated into FNG's distribution team last year.

Freer did not say when an agreement would be finalized, noting that big, long-term agreements are extremely complex.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.