The TV Answer Man!

Dish Loses 28 CBS Stations In Fee Fight

Dish this morning lost 28 CBS-owned local stations in 18 markets due to a fee fight between the companies, both companies announced.

Update: CBS said Wednesday that the two sides are still far apart in their negotiations.

The blackout comes just two days before Thanksgiving when CBS will air its annual holiday football game between the Los Angeles Chargers and Dallas Cowboys. The network also will air SEC conference football this weekend as well as a NFL doubleheader on Sunday.

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CBS owns 14 local CBS affiliates in such large markets as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami, Boston, Atlanta, Detroit, Baltimore, Denver, and Miami.

This dispute will not affect the other CBS affiliates which are owned by other companies and hold separate carriage deals with Dish. The other 14 CBS-owned local stations affected by this dispute consist of CW affiliates and independent stations.

You can see a complete list of the CBS-owned local stations here. 

The Dish blackout also includes the CBS Sports Network, and the CBS owned Smithsonian Channel and Pop channel. However, it appears that the CBS-owned Showtime is not affected by the blackout.

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Dish issued a statement this morning saying that CBS rejected its offer for a temporary carriage extension that would keep the stations on while negotiations continued. The network has not commented on that claim as of 4:43 a.m. ET today.

The companies are fighting over how much Dish should pay to carry the CBS-owned stations and channels.

“CBS is attempting to tax Dish customers on programming that’s losing viewers, tax Dish customers on programming available for free over the air, and tax Dish customers for content available directly from CBS,” Warren Schlichting, Dish’s executive vice president of programming, said in a press release. “Our customers are clear: they don’t want to pay a CBS tax. It’s regrettable and unnecessary that CBS is bringing its greed into the homes of millions of families this Thanksgiving.”

At its web site, KeepCBSOnDish.com, CBS responded by noting that Dish has been involved in numerous carriage disputes over the years, some of which have led to temporary channel blackouts.

“Since 2013, Dish has dropped the signals of 29 different companies, representing nearly 400 television stations, clearly indicating that these tactics are commonplace for them,” CBS says at the site. “This particular dispute is yet another example of the company punishing its subscribers instead of negotiating a fair carriage deal that reflects the current marketplace.”

Despite CBS saying Dish ‘dropped’ its channels, a pay TV provider can not carry a channel without its owner’s permission. In this case, CBS pulled the signals this morning when Dish refused its terms for another carriage agreement.

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— Phillip Swann