Say goodbye to the Colbert Report, Spongebob Squarepants and yes, even The City (we hardly knew ye), Gawker is reporting that "From New York to Los Angeles, Viacom channels like Comedy Central are set to flicker off cable systems in the first minute of 2009." The two companies have been not-so-publicly negotiating for some time, and now the network is holding their channels hostage.

On Time Warner's site, they note: "We are negotiating earnestly, honestly and fairly with MTV Networks, but so far have been unable to reach an agreement or get an extension. MTV Networks may pull these channels from your lineup on January 1st." Their explanation, which can be read in full after the jump, includes Viacom wanting to charge more for their channels despite decreased ratings.

Viacom issued a statement as well, explaining: "We have asked for an increase of less than 25 cents per month, per subscriber, which adds up to less than a penny per day for all 19 of MTV Networks’ channels. We make this request because TWC has so greatly undervalued our channels for so long." Hmm, maybe if they didn't substitute John Norris with Whitney Port we'd consider loosening the change purse a bit.

The network has also released an ad campaign that includes some of their Nickelodeon cartoon characters crying, to which the Wall Street Journal says: "While programmers and operators often battle fiercely over contract renewals, Viacom's campaign is notable in its willingness to pull children into the debate."

• MTV Networks wants our customers to pay millions more. They are currently demanding price increases that are nearly triple the rate of increase under our current agreement. These increases would be excessive even in a strong economy, but given the current conditions, it’s simply not fair to our customers.

• MTV’s demands are outrageous and would force our customers to pay millions of dollars more per year. MTV’s networks are not worth so much more today than they were yesterday, especially given the fact that their ratings are mostly declining in recent years.

• Much of their popular programming is also available for free online. In this economy, we don’t believe it’s appropriate to ask our customers to pay so much more for programming with declined ratings or that's available for free.

• We’ve successfully negotiated hundreds of programming agreements with other cable networks, many within the last few months. Our hope is that we will come to an agreement with MTV Networks that is fair to our customers.