Will AT&T Pull the Plug on "Mad Men"?

Do you have AT&T's U-verse? If so, you might not be able to watch the return of AMC's "Mad Men."

The communication empire is in a stalemate over carriage contract negotiations with Rainbow Programming, who owns AMC, IFC, WE tv and others. If an agreement can't be reached, AT&T will pull those channels from its U-Verse system on July 14th a mere 10 days before AMC's hit series "Mad Men" is scheduled to return.

Carriage disputes like this have cropped up before and are usually planned around major television events. Its a scare tactic the cable networks use to hold the cable providers over a barell at the expense of the customer. In a normal world, this would be seen as extortion, but its all in a day's work in the world of television.

Negotiations have been going on for the past six months. A two-week extension was agreed on, but now the two sides seem to be at an impasse.

"We want to reach a fair deal with Rainbow that reflects our growing subscriber base and reflects the appropriate value of Rainbow content." said an AT&T rep. Of course, that business-speak really means that AT&T thinks AMC is overrated and not worth the money.

"Based on aggregate data we obtained from third party industry sources and our own subscribers, some of the Rainbow channels are among the least-watched and most overpriced per viewer compared to other major programming providers."

I don't know what "third part industry source" AT&T was using, because not more than 3 days ago AMC scored a total of 26 Emmy nominations, 17 of which were for "Mad Men."

"They’re also trying to force the renegotiation of a contract for one of their other channels that is not yet expired and force us to carry a new channel that wasn’t even formally presented to us until after the recent July 1 contract extension." Said the AT&T spokesperson. "We want our customers to know that we can’t and won’t give in to unreasonable deals that unfairly disadvantage our customers."

"AT&T is acting in an aggressive manner that puts their corporate interests ahead of their customers," said a Rainbow Programming spokesperson. "We are negotiating in good faith with AT&T and are hopeful that we can reach an agreement as soon as possible so that our viewers don't lose out."

We'll keep you posted of any updates. As always, stay tuned.

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