Moonves claims the blackout in the majority of their primary markets has not affected their ratings. I guess that means that nobody watches CBS even when there is no blackout at all? [h=1]Viewers suffer in CBS-TWC dirty war[/h]http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/we_hate_you_both_wR5Tp7pKaurG2mZeQbJYsM Think the Big Apple mayoral race is nasty? Just tune in the full-on mud fight between CBS and Time Warner Cable in an escalating spat over programming fees. As the blackout of CBS-owned channels on TWC systems stretched into a fourth day, both sides dropped all pretense of civility and dug deep into their bag of dirty tricks â€” with consumers caught in the crossfire. In a letter to CBS CEO Les Moonves, TWC boss Glenn Britt offered to make CBS available to customers on an â€œÃ¡ la carteâ€ basis, meaning subscribers would have to specifically request the Tiffany Network for the signal to be piped into their homes. Most broadcast network bosses would view the offer as an insult, as Ã¡ la carte would turn their over-the-air station into a subscription channel. But Britt soldiered on. â€œThis way, rather than our debating the point, we would allow customers to decide for themselves how much value they ascribe to CBS programming,â€ Britt wrote in a widely circulated letter yesterday. Moonves, apparently seeing the offer as an insult, called it an â€œempty gestureâ€ and a â€œshamâ€ that is â€œdesigned to distract from the fact that Time Warner Cable isnâ€™t negotiating in good faith.â€ â€œAnyone familiar with the entertainment business knows that the economics and structure of the cable industry doesnâ€™t work that way and isnâ€™t likely to for quite some time,â€ Moonves said in a statement. Meanwhile, Britt sent his colleague Rob Marcus before the cable-news klieg lights to argue that CBSâ€™ demands would send cable bills soaring. Even as they ratchet up the rhetoric, it turns out that both sides made some progress ahead of the blackout. One source said that while TWC and CBS have agreed on new rates, they are still far apart on issues like the availability of CBS on mobile screens. In a separate bit of all-out mudslinging, CBS pointed out to the press that TWC is billing West Coast consumers for a $4-a-month Dodgers-Lakers sports network as part of its basic programming package, prompting a consumer lawsuit against the cable-TV provider. The CBS insinuation is that TWC, which owns a stake in the LA regional sports network, isnâ€™t thinking about offering that network Ã¡ la carte. In the back-and-forth, as TWC subscribers continued to go without CBS and without any offer of a rebate, Britt demanded that CBS stop blocking customers from programming on the Web. CBS has cut off TWC broadband customers from watching shows on CBS.com. â€œRegardless of the other issues between us, it is surely beyond the pale for you to subject these Internet customers to blocking of content that is made available for free to all others,â€ Britt wrote. TWC stopped carrying CBS in several markets, including LA and New York, when a new â€œretransmissionâ€ agreement couldnâ€™t be reached. CBS is said to be seeking $2 a month, up from 50 cents to $1. But CBSâ€™ online ban of TWC customers extends beyond the blackout areas. BTIG media analyst Rich Greenfield said the move could draw scrutiny from regulators, who grant broadcasters their license to use airwaves to operate.