Dish and Tribune finally end blackout with retrans deal

satellite dishes on a roof

Dish Network and Tribune Broadcasting announced a multi-year broadcast retransmission licensing deal, ending a blackout of 42 stations in 33 markets that lasted almost three months. 

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Tribune’s network affiliates were pulled off Dish’s program guide back on June 12, with Dish claiming that the broadcaster was seeking rate increases in addition to carriage of cable network WGN America.

All of Tribune’s stations, plus WGN America, were restored to Dish’s service on Saturday.

“We want to thank our viewers and customers for their patience and support as we worked through this lengthy process,” said Dish and Tribune in a joint statement. “We’re pleased to move forward and again be able to provide the content of Tribune’s local stations and WGN America for years to come.”   

In an email message to Tribune staff, president and CEO Peter Liguori said, “While the specifics of the agreement are confidential, we’re pleased with its terms and believe we achieved everything we had hoped to, including broad distribution for WGN America. The timing is great, too, with college and NFL football about to get the regular season underway, new fall prime-time programming set to debut in a few weeks, and Salem returning for its third season on WGN America.”

Amid the rhetoric, Tribune called on the FCC at one point to intervene in the dispute. Dish called for binding arbitration. In the end, the looming prospects of NFL games and the fall TV season brought both parties to a deal. 

For more:
- read this Deadline Hollywood story
- read this Los Angeles Times story

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