Bad news for fans of procedural crime dramas: Negotiations between CBS and Time Warner Cable turned so sour last night that the cable network stopped airing CBS and Showtime in major cities. It pulled the plug at midnight Eastern time, following a day of discussions over the retransmission fee Time Warner pays to run CBS' stations—but put the plug back in half an hour later, after apparently agreeing to keep negotiating for a few more days, the New York Times reports. Both sides pointed a finger at the other. "The outrageous demands for fees by CBS Corporation have forced Time Warner Cable to remove several of its networks and broadcast stations from our customers' lineups," TWC wrote in a statement.
CBS, on the other hand, says the move came "in spite of all our efforts to hammer out a fair agreement," and that the cable provider was engaging in "a public campaign of disinformation and voodoo mathematics (featuring wildly inflated percentages) while doggedly restating their positions." TWC says CBS is asking for a 600% fee increase—a figure CBS denies. The deadline for negotiations has now been pushed to Friday, reports CNNMoney, which notes it's at least the 10th extension in the last 30 days. The blackout came as CBS was throwing a party in Beverly Hills to promote its upcoming fall season, the LA Times reports. When CBS CEO Les Moonves was shown TWC's statement, he reportedly declared: "We're at war with Time Warner Cable." (Read more Time Warner Cable stories.)