'Colbert,' 'SpongeBob' may go dark on Time Warner

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- "SpongeBob SquarePants" is at risk of being thrown off Time Warner Cable.

Media giant Viacom says Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and its 16 other channels could go dark for 13 million subscribers just after midnight if a new fee deal with Time Warner Cable isn't agreed to.

The impasse would mean "SpongeBob" and other popular shows like Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" could be cut off. The nation's second-largest cable operator primarily serves customers in New York state, the Carolinas, Ohio, Southern California and Texas.

A Time Warner Cable executive says Viacom asked for fee increases of between 22 percent and 36 percent per channel, which he says could increase customers' cable bills. A Viacom spokeswoman says the requested increase was in the very low double-digit percentage range.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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