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Nexstar stations dark on TDS systems in 8 states

Telephone and Data Systems Inc. and Nexstar Media Group Inc. failed to reach a retransmission-consent renewal, resulting in the broadcaster’s stations going dark to TDS Telecom video subscribers in eight states.

The parties had faced a retransmission deadline of 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 31. Having failed to reach a deal, Nexstar stations, including those affiliated with ABC (US), CBS (US), FOX (US) and The CW (US), are currently not available to TDS video subscribers in Colorado, Indiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

TDS had indicated that Nexstar had been seeking up to a 175% hike in fees for continued carriage of the stations. Evidently, that rate has decreased, but not enough for the parties to forge a new deal.

In a blog post, TDS, noting it was the first time the company has gone dark with a "Big 4" station, said it has given Nexstar its best offer, one it considers to be "a reasonable increase." The company, though, said Nexstar is "continuing to demand rates that are well outside industry norms -- now up to a 130% increase. TDS will continue negotiations with Nexstar to reach a fair agreement that does not unduly impact customers' bills."

Elsewhere, a spokesman said Cox Communications Inc. reached a retrans renewal on Dec. 31 for a number of Nexstar stations.

Nexstar did not respond to queries seeking comment by press time.