TV Answer Man, is there anything new with Dish and Sinclair? And is there a chance that Dish will get the Bally Sports channels back in time to show some NBA games this season? — Dave, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Dave, as you may know, Sinclair and Dish have been negotiating for a new carriage pact at least since August when Sinclair first threatened to remove its 100 plus local network affiliates from Dish. The channels have remained on Dish during this time because the companies have agreed to short-term extensions while negotiations continued.

In addition, Dish and Sinclair are likely discussing the return of the Sinclair-owned 19 Bally Sports regional sports networks to Dish’s lineup as well. The satcaster lost them in July 2019 due to a separate carriage dispute.

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Sinclair yesterday held an analyst call after the release of its third quarter report and the company’s executives were asked about the Dish talks.

What did they say?

Not much.

“We are in very short-term renewals at this point and we don’t comment on live negotiations. So, that’s what I’ll say on that question,” Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley said tersely.

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It’s been three months since Sinclair issued its threat to remove the local channels so what’s taking so long?

For starters, the negotiations are more complicated than normal due to the Bally Sports channels. Dish and Sinclair not only have to reach an agreement on the local channels, but they need to settle the Bally question as well. Possible scenarios include Dish carrying only some of the regional sports channels, or carrying all of them a la carte so subscribers could order them directly rather than be forced to pay for them in their existing bundle.

The situation becomes even more complex when you factor in Sling TV, Dish’s live, multi-channel streaming service. Would Sling carry the regional sports channels as well, or perhaps only some? Would Sling carry some of Sinclair’s local stations? (They currently don’t.)

And in the middle of all those head-numbing calculations, Sinclair was hit last month with a ransomware attack that rendered some of its infrastructure useless for a time!

It’s easy to understand why Dish and Sinclair have not closed this deal by now, despite how long the talks have gone.

The TV Answer Man will continue to monitor the Dish-Sinclair situation and report back here if anything changes.

Until then, happy viewing, and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann