*The Fox television network and Time Warner Cable reached a programming deal in principle on Friday, after leaving millions of people in the lurch about whether they’d be able to see an anticipated college football matchup and other shows on cable TV.

Fox had threatened to force Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks to drop the Fox broadcast signal from 14 of its TV stations and half a dozen of its cable channels as a contract expired at midnight Thursday.

But signals were extended into Friday as talks continued, allowing more than 6 million cable subscribers in New York, Los Angeles, Orlando, Fla., and other markets to tune into the Sugar Bowl and other programming.

The deal, which included Bright House, ended a week of public sparring that had some consumers worried they’d miss the matchup between highly ranked Florida and Cincinnati that started at 8:30 p.m. EST.

“I think it’s all corporate gamesmanship and consumers are caught in the crossfire,” said Richard Anderson, a 55-year-old city manager in Apopka, Fla., who had eight people at his place ready to drive four miles to root on the Gators at the residence of a friend who had satellite TV.

Anderson had tried unsuccessfully this week to get an injunction blocking Fox from pulling its signal.

Neither company would divulge the terms of the deal. Fox wanted to be paid $1 per cable subscriber each month for the broadcast signal it had once given away freely from the stations it owns. Other Fox affiliate stations that are owned by different companies had already cut deals to be paid by cable operators for a fraction of that fee.

For MORE of this AP story by Ryan Nakashima, go HERE.

Earlier, we reported:

*Fox and Time Warner Cable extended their contract for a few hours, avoiding a threatened blackout of several stations from the cable provider while the two sides tried early Friday to resolve a disagreement over fees.

Time Warner Cable Inc. made the announcement as the clock rolled past midnight Thursday on the East Coast.

Scott Grogin, Fox senior vice president for communications, said at 9:30 a.m. EST Friday the companies were “still negotiating.”

The extension for a few hours made it appear likely that at the very least a further extension would be granted, allowing millions of cable subscribers access to Friday’s Sugar Bowl between the Florida Gators and the Cincinnati Bearcats. The Cotton Bowl on Saturday, the NFL’s final regular season contests on Sunday and “The Simpsons” and other Fox shows were also at risk.

Karen Amaya, a 30-year-old schoolteacher and Time Warner Cable subscriber in Van Nuys, Calif., said she was concerned about not being able to see “The Simpsons” on Sunday night, which her husband watches “religiously.”

She said it was “kind of frustrating” not knowing what would happen, especially as both sides had heavily advertised the possible disruption.

For MORE of this AP story by Ryan Nakashima, go HERE.