Time Warner Cable subscribers in several major markets could be unable to view Fox programming beginning New Year’s day if a business dispute is not settled, Variety reports. The cable provider and the TV network have reportedly been unable to agree on a new retransmission consent agreement; their current contract expires with the end of 2009, and negotiations have reportedly been unproductive thus far. If the situation remains unresolved, many viewers served by Time Warner Cable would no longer receive Fox, FX, Fuel TV, Speed, and other affiliated cable networks.

[UPDATE: “I wouldn’t characterize negotiations as unproductive,” a Time Warner Cable spokesperson tells EW via email. “Negotiations are ongoing, but Fox’s current demands are still unreasonable and excessive, especially in this economic climate. We hope Fox won’t punish our customers by taking their programming away while we try to reach an agreement.” Fox has not responded to requests for comment.]

[UPDATE: A Fox spokesperson sent EW the following statement, “For months, Fox has been negotiating in good faith with Time Warner Cable. Our position in these negotiations is entirely reasonable — we are simply asking for fair compensation for the value our Fox programming offers. We will continue to actively negotiate with Time Warner Cable in hopes of reaching a fair agreement.”]