The companies just made the terse announcement that they have “mutually decided to restore service of CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, truTV, TCM, HLN, CNN en Espanol and Boomerang, and extend the carriage of TBS and TNT” — but will have no “further comment.”
That leaves unanswered the question of whether they have a deal yet. Also unknown is whether Turner’s channels will join Disney, Scripps, and A+E on Dish’s streaming video service, which Chairman Charlie Ergen says he expects to launch before year end.
Turner channels, except for TBS and TNT, have been off of Dish since October 21 with both sides blaming the other for the breakdown in negotiations to extend their carriage deal. Ergen gave Turner an ultimatum this month that if they could not come to terms by the end of November, then Dish might “just make a long-term decision to go a different direction.” He called the loss of the channels a “non-event” for Dish, specifically noting that channels such as CNN a”re not quite the product that they used to be. You can imagine: CNN down on election night would have been a disaster 15 or 20 years ago. Now there are plenty of other places for people to get news.”
Turner said it was mystified and disappointed by Ergen’s attacks “particularly given the fact that Dish agreed to our rates and carriage proposals” and the programmer was “supportive of the Dish OTT effort and had found common ground on the major issues there. While there were clearly deal points to get done, they were not the type you would usually go dark over.”
The approaching December 5 expiration date for Dish’s carriage deal with TBS and TNT — Turner’s most popular channels — may have prompted the companies to compromise. This week Turner began to warn Dish customers that they might lose the channels. “We remain hopeful that we will reach an agreement that restores our networks to the air and eliminates the risk of Dish removing additional Turner networks from its channel lineup,” the company said. Ergen had said earlier that the loss of the two channels “will be more painful.”