All hell will break loose if there’s isn’t an eleventh-hour settlement — as there usually is in similar cases — to Tribune’s retransmission contract dispute with DirecTV. Tribune says that it will yank its TV stations in 16 markets, as well as cable network WGN America, from the No. 1 satellite company if they can’t renew their deal by Sunday. “Despite our best efforts, DirecTV is refusing to offer a fair deal and we remain far apart in negotiations,” Tribune Broadcasting president Nils Larsen says. “As a result of DirecTV’s inflexibility, there’s a strong likelihood that service interruptions will occur.” That would be a big deal: Tribune owns an ABC affiliate in New Orleans, as well as Fox stations in Sacramento; San Diego; Hartford; Indianapolis; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Harrisburg, Pa.; and Seattle. Tribune is also a major owner of CW affiliates. Subscribers would be infuriated to lose the stations’ nework shows and local newscasts — and the programs’ ratings would take a hit. But the loudest cries likely would come from sports fans: Tribune’s stations provide local broadcasts for the New York Mets, the Chicago Cubs and White Sox, and the Philadelphia Phillies. Tribune is urging consumers to visit a website to complain. But DirecTV says that Tribune is the one to blame if there’s a blackout. While it has “no problem compensating Tribune fairly,” DirecTV adds that “we have absolutely no intention of denying anyone access to these stations, unless Tribune specifically demands it.”
Tribune Warns Of “Strong Likelihood” DirecTV Will Lose Its Stations This Sunday
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