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New Year, new deal for Time Warner and Viacom

US viewers get SpongeBob Savedpants

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Time Warner Cable customers have been saved - they'll still be able to watch SpongeBob Squarepants and other shows from Viacom.

The cable company carries 19 channels from Viacom including MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, but was refusing to pay increased fees for them.

However, the two companies said yesterday that they have now agreed in principle to renew the carriage deal, although financial details still need to be sorted out.

Glenn Britt, CEO of Time Warner Cable, welcomed the agreement and apologised to customers for suffering a day of uncertainty.

It is good they made up so quickly - on New Year's Eve Time Warner was accusing Viacom of "trying to extort another $39m annually - on top of the hundreds of millions of dollars our customers already pay... it is particularly outrageous given the current economic conditions."

Viacom's best known shows include The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Dora the Explorer. ®

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