Two front war for Dish: TNT and TBS set to go dark Dec. 5

Turner Networks began warning Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) customers Tuesday that TNT and TBS could go dark on their satellite service Dec. 5, joining CBS in simultaneous public carriage battles against the pay-TV operator.

"Our efforts in recent weeks to restore the Turner networks to Dish customers have been rejected at every turn by Dish leadership," Turner said in a statement. "The upcoming expiration on December 5 of our carriage agreement for TNT and TBS means Dish may drop those networks as well. We remain hopeful that we will reach an agreement that restores our networks to the air and eliminates the risk of Dish removing additional Turner networks from its channel lineup."

Dish already dropped CNN, Cartoon Network and several other Turner channels in October, with Dish chairman Charlie Ergen telling investors Nov. 5 that the platforms have degraded value in today's atomized programming environment and might not return to the Dish programming guide.

It's a precarious time, programming-wise, for TNT and TBS, with ratings down and new creative chief Kevin Reilly in the process of overhauling the prime-time schedule. However, TNT does have a powerful NBA Basketball lineup, not to mention reruns of the Big Bang Theory, to leverage viewership.

CBS also ramped up pressure on Dish last week, running ads on select owned-and-operated stations warning viewers that programming--such as first-run episodes of the Big Bang Theory--could soon be blacked out, too.

For more:
- read this Deadline Hollywood story
- read this Variety story

Related links:
CBS: 'Dish is notorious for going dark'
Moonves responds to Ergen: 'You're going to miss those Broncos games'
Ergen says streaming makes CBS 'less interesting to MVPDs' as network readies OTT news service
CBS, Moonves lose nerve on tough OTT position with launch of All Access
Moonves to stations: Get more retrans money out of pay-TV operators or else

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