TV Answer Man, when will the Dish and Sinclair fight be over? Isn’t today the deadline day for if my station here in Washington will go off Dish? I hate these greedy companies! — Jen, Fairfax, Virginia.
Jen, Sinclair last week issued a press release saying it was unlikely that it would reach a new carriage agreement with Dish before the current one expires on August 16.
Update, August 16, 6:25 p.m. ET: Sinclair and Dish have agreed to a “short-term” extension that will avoid any blackout tonight (August 16). The length of the extension is unknown. Sinclair’s local station web sites continue to post alerts saying Dish subscribers could lose their signals.
“We have agreed to a short-term extension with Dish to continue conversations. We will continue to update our viewers as this develops. Sinclair stands willing to continue to negotiate in good faith and to enter into a longer extension to allow for the continued carriage of our channels to Dish subscribers,” Sinclair general counsel David Gibber said in a statement.
The TV Answer Man will update this story if anything significant changes.
If a new pact is not signed by today, Dish could lose Sinclair’s 112 local TV stations, the Tennis Channel, and it would not resume carrying the Sinclair-owned 19 Bally Sports regional sports networks. (Dish has been without the sports nets since July 2019 due to a separate carriage fight.)
So, is there anything new in the talks? Today is the deadline day, after all.
Unfortunately, TV providers and programmers rarely discuss the status of ongoing carriage negotiations, and this fee fight is no different. However, the web sites of the Sinclair local stations this morning are still carrying an alert that a blackout is possible. That tells us a settlement has not been reached yet. In addition, Dish’s web site, and Twitter customer service site, are both still communicating that the negotiations are continuing.
We should learn more later today, although it’s unclear exactly when the current Dish-Sinclair pact expires. For what it’s worth, Sinclair publicly seems to think that a blackout will happen while Dish is maintaining a settlement is still possible. (Dish is still carrying the local stations as of 4:30 a.m. ET on August 16. Also worth noting: This dispute affects Sling TV as well.)
The TV Answer Man will monitor this situation today, and report back here if anything changes.
Until then, happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann