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Fox threatening to leave Time Warner Cable

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The president of News Corp. ratcheted up the media company’s ongoing contract brinksmanship with Time Warner Cable, announcing in a company-wide memo that it will pull its local stations and national networks (including Fox, FX, and Fox News) from the cable system after tonight’s midnight deadline, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “We deeply regret that millions of Fox customers will be deprived of our programming,” wrote Chase Carey, “but we need to receive fair compensation from Time Warner Cable to go forward with them.” At odds is the fee TWC would pay News Corp. — the former reportedly wants 30 cents per subscriber, the latter $1 per subscriber — a battle reminiscent of TWC’s 11th-hour negotiations with Viacom last year.

Should the deadline pass without an agreement, however, News Corp. may not get the chance to pull its programming for very long. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Sen. John Kerry, who chairs a powerful Senate subcommittee that oversees cable communication, released a statement that he would “ask the FCC to intervene and mandate continued coverage” should Fox cuts its signal to TWC. A spokesperson for the FCC, however, declined to comment.

UPDATE (1/1/10, 12:40 a.m. ET): Spokespeople for TWC and Fox tell EW they’ve extended their deadline. Read more about it here.

UPDATE (1/1/10, 7:30 p.m. ET): Fox and TWC jointly announce a new agreement in principle. Click here for more.