Time Warner Cable and Walt Disney Co. have signed a long-term contract that will keep the Disney Channel, ABC Family and ESPN channels on the air for Time Warner's 2.1 million customers in the Carolinas.
The two media giants announced their contract this afternoon, following a weeklong public display of finger-pointing as negotiations pushed up against deadlines and flirted with blackouts for millions of customers across the country.
The deal means that Time Warner will carry several new channels, including Disney Junior, ESPN3.com, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater and expanded services in California and New York.
This region's ABC station, WTVD, is one of 10 across the country owned by Disney and was part of the negotiations.
The public dispute between Disney and Time Warner is only the most recent such manifestation of corporate bad blood. In January, Time Warner reached a last-minute deal with News Corp., ending a standoff and avoiding programming disruptions.
As in past negotiations, Disney demanded more money for its programs, while Time Warner resisted paying higher fees per subscriber. The terms of today's deal were not disclosed.
The previous contract had expired at midnight, but both sides agreed to keep programs on the air as the talks continued. This bait-and-switch has been a standard maneuver in these kinds of public spats, with the hardnosed negotiators threatening to cut programming if the other side doesn't buckle, then relenting to keep the shows going while the talks continue.
In past years, such programming negotiations took place behind the scenes, but as the stakes have risen and deals have become challenging, the media giants have taken out newspaper ads and launched Web sites, blaming the other side for intransigence.