Media General has begun informing viewers of 70 of its stations in 48 TV markets that it will pull its broadcast feed off Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) if a new broadcast retransmission deal isn't reached with the satellite operator by Sunday.
According to TV Predictions, which first reported on this story, Media General said that a six-week extension to the previous deal had already come and gone.
"We are still in negotiations and do not understand why Media General has chosen to involve our customers at this time," Dish said on its DishPromise.com site. "There is still time to reach a mutually beneficial deal. Negotiations regularly happen right up to the deadline and more often than not they are settled without issue."
Dish's last deal with Media General didn't come easy — it was signed after a 46-day blackout.
And the satellite operator has several other major negotiations going on right now. For one, it's using a clause in Comcast's 2011 regulatory agreement to acquire NBCUniversal. Dish told the FCC last week that it will settle a broad-reaching impasse with NBCU on retransmission and carriage in binding arbitration.
Dish is also in long-gestating talks with Viacom.
Media General is currently in the midst of a $4.6 billion takeover attempt by Nexstar Broadcasting. Certainly, anything like a 46-day blackout of a major pay-TV operator probably wouldn't sit too well with federal regulators right now.
Dish tells FCC its going through with arbitration on NBCU renewal
Dish reaches agreement with News-Press & Gazette Broadcasting, avoids blackout
Dish reaches short-term extension with Viacom, holds off highly anticipated carriage war
ACA asks FCC to 'deny or condition' Nexstar-Media General merger