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Fox Networks Closing In on Agreement With Charter

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

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

Since the original deadline the companies have agreed to a series of extensions, 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. As in most negotiations between programmers and distributors, the issues include money and terms.

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

Settling that suit may be part of the agreement.

Fox News Channel 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 ahead of National Geographic's "Further Front" event at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Fox News's 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 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.