Suddenlink Communications customers nationwide – including thousands in Leander, Pflugerville, Georgetown and elsewhere in Central Texas – could lose access to Nickelodeon, MTV and several other well-known cable networks tonight.
The impending blackout comes after months of failed contract negotiations between Suddenlink, the nation’s ninth largest cable provider, and Viacom, owner of the networks.
Other cable channels that could disappear are BET, CMT, Spike, TV Land, VH1 and Comedy Central.
Suddenlink claims Viacom is asking for an increase of monthly per-subscriber fees that amounts to about 50 percent, while also pointing out that Nielsen ratings for many of the Viacom networks are down by as much 30 percent.
Those higher fees would result in higher cable bills, Suddenlink says.
Viacom officials didn’t respond to a message from the American-Statesman seeking comment.
About 60 other cable companies nationwide have already dumped the Viacom networks, citing the higher fees, according to Suddenlink.
If a deal isn’t reached before day’s end, the Viacom stations will immediately be replaced by several new channels not currently available to Suddenlink subscribers.
In the Central Texas area, networks joining the expanded basic tier will include the Hallmark Channel (Channels 41/782), FXX (Channels 58/742), Investigation Discovery (Channels 35/748), Oprah Winfrey’s OWN (Channels 31/784), Glenn Beck’s The Blaze (Channels 59/741), Pivot (Channels 64/746), Up! (Channels 34/747) and Sprout (Channels 56/744), which features children’s programming.
Customers with digital service will get even more new channels: Aspire (Channel 214), Baby First TV (Channel 211), Comedy.TV (Channel 212), Crime and Investigation (Channel 215), ESPN Goal Line/Buzzer Beater (Channels 145/685), Fusion (Channel 144), Game Show Network (Channels 210/688), the MGM Channel (Channel 325), Military History Channel (Channel 216), RFD TV (Channel 200), RLTV (Channe 217), Revolt (Channel 213) and TV One (Channel 187).