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Time Warner Still in Talks With NFL Net

Cable system owner Time Warner Cable says it is still in talks with the NFL Network about carriage of the 24-hour sports channel on the systems Time Warner purchased in divvying up bankrupt Adelphia with Comcast.

Time Warner Friday "deleted" the NFL Network from those systems as promised. It has not struck a carriage deal with the NFL Network for any of its systems, saying the sticking point is its desire to put the channel on a separate sports tier and the network's desire to see it on expanded basic.

When the company took over the Adelphia systems Aug. 1, it pulled the network, but had to reinstate it after the FCC ruled it had not provided the requisite 30-day warning. Time Warner then began giving notice, and last week pulled the channel again.

Time Warner spokesman Mark Harrad says the two sides are still talking, reports otherwise notwithstanding.

"Fred Dressler, our lead negotiator, reports having had conversations last week. We continue to talk to the NFL," says Harrad, who added that he was surprised that the NFL Network described the talks as having broken off. He called that characterization "inaccurate."

An NFL Network spokesman had not returned a call at press time.