For a while now, I have been considering dropping our cable TV service from Time Warner Cable. That possibility came much closer this morning upon reading the AP story, “‘Colbert,’ ‘SpongeBob’ may go dark on Time Warner.”

According to this report, Viacom and Time Warner Cable have not come to any agreement regarding Time Warner’s carriage of Viacom’s channels, such as MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, CMT: Pure Country, Spike, TV Land, and others:

The impasse would mean “SpongeBob” and other popular shows like Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” and Stephen Colbert’s “The Colbert Report” will be cut off on the nation’s second-largest cable operator. Time Warner Cable primarily serves people in New York state, the Carolinas, Ohio, Southern California and Texas.

They forgot to mention parts of Wisconsin — specifically, my part: Southeastern Wisconsin, including Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha.

Our cable provider is Time Warner Wisconsin, and we might lose all of our Viacom channels tonight, as the New Year is rung in .

Comedy Central’s official Colbert Nation website features the following urgent alert today:

Alert! Alert! Alert! posted at Colbert Nation on 12/31/2008

Viacom reportedly wants to raise fees quite substantially. Time Warner has taken the position that it is trying to hold the line for me, the consumer. Viacom counters that the increase would cost me less than a penny a day.

I don’t know which side to sympathize with, and frankly, I don’t have any more sympathy to spare. We may just pull the plug altogether and let them split our nothing.

We’re currently paying somewhere between $50 and $60 per month to have a very basic tier of channels delivered to our TV set — less than 100, all told. Out of these, the cable channels we could live without, especially in these very difficult economic times, would include pretty much all of them.

I used to put CNN on frequently during the day, until it got too silly to stomach. (On a related note, CNN’s Rick Sanchez posted a comment last night regarding my criticism of his Twitter-the-news-to-yourself afternoon show.)

Now I sometimes watch MSNBC instead, but even that has been getting annoying.

I do enjoy Countdown with Keith Olbermann and The Rachel Maddow Show, but those shows are available via podcast, and even the podcasts were discontinued, I can’t justify $50-$60 per month for Keith and Rachel alone.

What else is there? Well, I have enjoyed Good Eats for many years, but it has actually become easier to find the new episodes on YouTube than on the actual Food Network. There’s also Top Chef, and although I would miss Padma Lakshmi something fierce, I would not die. Oh, and “fierce” reminds me that Amy likes to watch Project Runway, so I suppose we would both miss Heidi Klum.

As much as I laugh at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report, I miss more episodes than I watch — both due to the late hour, and because those shows both shift back and forth between weeks of reruns so often that it’s exhausting to try and follow them.

There are a couple of others, but my point is that we’re already paying a pretty steep price considering the amount of quality programming we get in return, and that price has been jacked up every January since I first started paying it.

Enough, already.

Now, with crystal-clear DTV on America’s airwaves, maybe it’s time for us to let go of cable television completely, get a couple of DTV coupons and some sort of basic antenna, and make the switch over to free TV as God intended.

Yes, I’m looking at you, David Letterman.

Just please stop the stupid Mike Singletary bits.

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