By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, we missed the games on Fox yesterday because of the DIRECTV fight with the local station owner. Will this happen again next week? Will we ever get our Fox back? — Mark, Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Mark, DIRECTV has been without the 159 Nexstar-owned network affiliates since July 2 due to a carriage dispute between the companies. (The impasse also affects DIRECTV Stream and U-verse.) The blackout arguably hit subscribers the hardest yesterday when they missed the Fox, NBC and CBS broadcasts of the first Sunday of NFL games during the 2023 season. Social media yesterday was filled with angry comments from DIRECTV football fans blaming one or both sides in the fee fight.

That the companies allowed the blackout to extend through the first NFL Sunday does not portend well for a settlement anytime soon. The last time the two companies had a carriage fight, it started in early July 2019 and ended a few days before the first Sunday of NFL games. The fact that they could not reach a deal this time before the season began is more evidence that the companies are even farther apart than four years ago. DIRECTV and Nexstar are fighting over not just the aforementioned 159 locals, but 30 other stations owned by Mission Broadcasting and White Knight but managed by Nexstar. There’s also a lawsuit and FCC complaints involved so this one is truly a complicated and contentious mess.

At this point, I cannot offer any hope that the fee fight will end before next Sunday or the Sunday after that, or the Sunday after that. There is simply no indication that these two warring companies will ever settle their differences, although that would seem extremely counterproductive for the economic well-being of both.

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— Phillip Swann