Ergen 'digging his heels' in on 'now expendable' CNN, report says

With CNN's ratings hitting record lows recently, Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) chairman Charlie Ergen is using licensing renewal negotiations with Turner Networks to scale back on smaller services.

So says a report Wednesday by Deadline Hollywood media editor David Lieberman, who says Dish is eager to draw a line in the sand in the same way pay-TV operators Cable One and Suddenlink did when they both recently eschewed renewal deals with Viacom.

On Tuesday, Dish blacked out CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and half-a-dozen other Turner Networks channels. Dish's deals for flagship Turner networks TNT and TBS also expire soon.

"Ergen seems to be digging in his heels with other programmers as well," Lieberman writes. "I'm told that CBS feels that Dish is dragging its feet in their retransmission consent negotiation and that a deal may not be done before the current one expires around Thanksgiving. In August, Dish dropped Comcast SportsNet New England, which carries the Boston Celtics."

Don't look for TNT and TBS to be blacked out, too, Lieberman adds. National NBA telecast begin on TNT starting Oct. 28.

According  to Marci Ryvicker, a Wells Fargo Securities analyst, Dish pays about $265 million a year for the blacked out channels, or about $1.57 per subscriber. If the channels were dark on in Dish's 14.1 million homes for a year, it would cut Time Warner's earnings by about 1 percent.

For more:
- read this Deadline Hollywood story

Related links:
Dish pulls CNN, Cartoon Network, other Turner channels
DirecTV and Raycom still haven't finalized deal, another blackout looms
Doing the math on Suddenlink's decision to kick out Viacom: A good call by the cable company
Cable One preps replacements for Viacom channels

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