Dish’s broadcast TV troubles mount after Scripps blackout

Dish Network
The new carriage dispute comes after last week Dish Network and Apollo Global Management entered a similar impasse involving local broadcast channels in 10 markets. (Dish Network)

Dish Network, for the second time in the past week, has found itself embroiled in a carriage dispute and channel blackout, this time with Scripps.

Over the weekend, television stations in 42 markets owned by The E.W. Scripps went dark on Dish.

"Our impasse, after five months of discussions, is not about the rates DISH pays us but their inability to agree on other distribution terms. We hope Dish will recognize the importance of our programming to its customers and our viewers and help us to resolve this dispute,” said Brian Lawlor, president of Local Media for Scripps, in a statement.

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“To be clear, Scripps chose to black out its own viewers. We offered multiple extension options to keep the channels up while we continue to work toward reaching a deal during these unprecedented times, but they refused,” said Andy LeCuyer, senior vice president of programming.

RELATED: Dish settles differences with broadcasters amid coronavirus outbreak

The new carriage dispute comes after last week Dish Network and Apollo Global Management entered a similar impasse involving local broadcast channels in 10 markets.

“We don’t understand why Apollo is choosing to put customers in the middle of its negotiations, especially during a global pandemic when customers need access to local news and programming,” said LeCuyer. “We have offered to apply our current agreement — with higher rates — to keep their channels available and avoid any service interruption while we continue to negotiate, but they refused, demanding a 40-percent increase to rates agreed to last year. We want to come to a long-term agreement that is fair for our customers.”

Cox Media Group, which last year sold the stations to Apollo, accused Dish of using its own customers as “pawns” in its negotiations.

“With its litigation façade shattered, DISH made the callous choice to black out the stations rather than negotiate a fair and reasonable deal with CMG. Over and over, Dish has rejected a ‘no-strings attached’ extension to get the stations back on their service and engage in productive negotiations,” Cox Media Group said in a statement.

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