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.
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