Dish last night lost 12 network affiliates in eight markets due to a fee fight with their owner, Bonten Media.

The stations have posted a notice at their web sites that the signals have been removed from Dish’s lineup because the companies could not reach a new carriage pact.

“While both Dish Network (and the stations) are working earnestly to resolve this matter, there is the potential that this could be a long interruption of service,” the notice reads.

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The disagreement is over how much Dish should pay to carry the 12 local channels.

Dish has not issued a comment on the dispute, but pay TV providers in fee fights normally say the programmer/broadcaster is asking for excessive fees, a charge normally denied by the programmer/broadcaster.

The stations that have been blacked out on Dish include: WCTB-TV, the NBC affiliate in the Tri-Cities market of Tennessee and Virginia; WEMT-TV, the Fox affiliate in the same Tri-Cities market; WCTI-TV, the ABC affiliate in Greenville, North Carolina; WFXI-TV and WTDO-TV, the Fox affiliates in Greenville and New Bern, North Carolina; and KTXS-TV, the ABC affiliate in Abilene, Texas. Click here for a complete list of Bonten’s stations.

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In related news, Dish last night reached a new carriage agreement in principle with Gray Television, averting a blackout of roughly 100 local channels. In addition,the satcaster signed a new deal with the NBC affiliate in Salt Lake City, ending a 20-day blackout of that channel.

Two Oklahoma CBS affiliates, KOTV in Tulsa and KWTV in Oklahoma City, have been returned temporarily to Dish’s lineup. The two companies have been engaged in a fee fight since January 1, leaving the network affiliates off Dish until last the weekend. But their owner, Griffin Communications, asked Dish to restore them temporarily because the state experienced a severe storm and it wanted Dish’s viewers to see their local weather coverage. Dish agreed to the offer

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It’s unclear when the temporary agreement will end.

— Phillip Swann