Dish Network Drops CBS Channels in Some Markets

By Cara Lombardo Features Dow Jones Newswires

CBS Corp. channels went dark for some Dish Network Corp. subscribers overnight as a pricing dispute between the two companies dragged on, potentially leaving more than two million customers without access to NFL and college football coverage on the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

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Dish dropped CBS and several other local television stations owned by CBS late Monday night and early Tuesday morning in markets including New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago, CBS said Tuesday. The action, which didn't affect all of Dish's 13.2 million subscribers, came after the two sides failed to reach a new carriage deal before their current contract ended.

The programmer said its CBS Sports Network, Pop and the Smithsonian channel had also been dropped.

CBS and Dish traded blame for the standoff. CBS said Dish was punishing its subscribers instead of negotiating fair prices for content it carries. Dish said CBS wanted Dish customers to pay more for programming that is declining in viewership and free over the air.

Dish said it has been giving eligible customers the option to drop local channels in exchange for a $10 reduction of their monthly bill and offering to install antennas at no cost. The company said thousands of customers have already chosen to remove local channels from their lineups.

CBS's Thanksgiving weekend coverage includes a Thanksgiving Day matchup between the National Football League's Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Chargers, more NFL games on Sunday and Southeastern Conference college football games Friday and Saturday.

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Other markets where CBS programming disappeared overnight include Philadelphia, San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, Tampa, Detroit, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Sacramento, Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

Disagreements between the two companies also caused CBS channels to go dark for Dish subscribers in 2014.

In that case, the two sides reached a deal the next day.

Dish and CBS shares, down 14% and 12% this year, respectively, were inactive premarket Tuesday.

Write to Cara Lombardo at cara.lombardo@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 21, 2017 09:14 ET (14:14 GMT)