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The Wall Street Journal: Viacom and AT&T in standoff that could leave 24 million TV viewers blacked out

Viacom Inc. and AT&T Inc. were continuing negotiations to avert a programming blackout that would leave more than 24 million pay-TV customers without channels like MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, after their earlier contract expired at midnight Friday.

The negotiations are over carriage of Viacom’s VIA, -1.66% networks on AT&T’s T, +0.03% DirecTV, U-verse and WatchTV services. As of Sunday, Viacom’s channels were still on the air as the parties continued to talk.

Such programming-carriage disputes happen periodically in cable and satellite TV and sometimes are resolved quickly. The fights are intensifying as cable-TV cord-cutting picks up momentum, pressuring pay-TV providers to cut their spending on content and prune the number of networks they offer.

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