UPDATE: Fox Networks and Dish Network are yet to start talks about restoring FX, National Geographic Channel and 19 regional sports networks on Dish systems. The cable networks were pulled at midnight after the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement on a new carriage deal, with talks breaking off shortly before the midnight deadline. In the meanwhile, accusations are flying from both sides. “Fox is demanding a new contract with an unprecedented rate increase of more than 50 percent,” Dish said in a statement. “Fox has flatly refused DISH Network’s request to allow customers to continue to watch these Fox channels during the negotiations.” Fox is vigorously disputing both claims, calling the 50% figure “absurd” and stating that it was Dish that refused to keep the networks on while negotiations continue and it never asked for an extension of the two sides’ existing deal. “The proposal we’ve offered DISH is fair and in line with the tremendous value we provide,” Fox Networks said in a statement. With the carriage dispute on the cable side escalating, Fox and Dish have not even started discussing a new retransmission consent agreement for the Fox stations as the current one expires at the end of the month. Those talks will certainly include a demand for retransmission consent fees by Fox, something that put the company at odds with Time Warner Cable in December and threatened the network’s coverage of the college football championship games. Similarly, the end of Fox stations’ agreement with Dish will coincide with the network’s coverage of the World Series.
PREVIOUS 4:45AM: Oh no, not again! Multichannel News is reporting that Fox networks pulled a handful of cable channels and regional sports networks from Dish Network today just as the midnight(Pacific Time) deadline passed without a carriage agreement. This could “possibly set the tone for a much nastier retransmission consent fight for Fox broadcasting stations next month,” the cable trade says. As expected, Fox pulled FX, National Geographic Channel and 19 regional sports networks from Dish subscribers.
It’s already nasty, with Dish SVP of programming Dave Shull saying in a statement his company won’t be bullied. “Fox has a long history of trying to shake down pay TV providers, including Cablevision, Time Warner, and Bright House.” Dish countered by giving its customers a bunch of free channels like: HD Net Movies and HD Theater, as well as NFL Network and Big Ten Network. But this cable dispute is only the beginning: there’s another retrans fight looming November 1st between the satellite giant and Fox broadcast and MyNetwork TV stations. Meanwhile Fox suggests Dish subscribers switch to DirecTV, FiOs, AT&T U-Verse or local cable.