NCTC and Cable One were paying close attention to the clock Mon, with customers set to lose Viacom nets if a deal isn’t reached by 11:59pm ET. NCTC pres/CEO Rich Fickle wrote to Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman Sun, asking that the channels be allowed to stay on NCTC members systems as negotiations continue. "Notable progress has been made over the last several days with both teams working together diligently every day. However, as we approach the March 31 deadline as long as we both remain committed to reaching a deal, we urge you not to put customers in the middle by either turning your networks off, requiring local cable operators to remove their Viacom channels or blocking consumer access to online content generally available to the public," Fickle wrote. Viacom said it has been working for months to reach an agreement that will ensure no interruption for subscribers of NCTC’s member companies. "Unfortunately, NCTC continues to stall our conversations and negotiate in the press rather than work collaboratively toward a compromise," the programmer said. "We are simply asking NCTC to pay fair value for our networks, which continue to deliver more viewers than any other cable programming group at a very reasonable price. We will work to keep our viewers informed as we approach the expiration of our current NCTC agreement." Cable One is covered under the current NCTC deal, but is now trying to strike its own pact with the programmer. Like NCTC, it was still negotiating Mon and hoping for a positive resolution. Over the weekend, the MSO said that if Viacom’s rate remains unreasonable, it will replace its 15 nets with other channels that customers have been requesting and expanding the carriage of others: including BBC America, Sprout, ID, the Blaze, Hallmark Channel, Nat Geo, TV One, Sundance and more.

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