Some cable subscribers might just miss the tail end of The Walking Dead's marathon on AMC tomorrow, and possibly more when season six returns, if AMC and the National Television Cable Cooperative don't reach an agreement.
The two companies have been in tense negotiations for some time now with both sides warning viewers that the potential blackout is nearby. AMC is attempting to raise its rates for its self-titled channel, as well as SundanceTV, IFC, and We TV.
AMC's biggest bargaining chip is its hit series and highest rated show on television, The Walking Dead, and is currently believed to command a lower per-subscriber fee than competitors USA Network, TNT, and FX. The fact that The Walking Dead does not return until February 14 weakens the chances of deal being reached by the current's expiration at midnight on December 31.
In addition to the higher fees, AMC wants better distribution of its mothership network's siblings.
“We have extraordinarily high regard for the NCTC and for its members. We have long supported smaller cable operators, and the particular challenges and considerations that they face in the service of their markets. We will continue to endeavor to do everything we can to make them successful,” AMC Networks said.
However, NCTC fired back with a different attitude, pointing the finger at AMC. "We know Alaska Walking Dead fans will be disappointed that AMC’s sky-high rates prevent GCI from carrying the show on our traditional TV lineup,” said Bob Ormberg, GCI’s VP of content and product management.
NCTC provides cable subscriptions to over 12 million homes, however, only a percentage of the those viewers will be effected by the negotiations.
This is not unlike the previous negotiations between Dish Network and AMC which saw AMC pulled from the provider for a short period of time.