“CBS remains on the air with Dish while negotiations progress into the evening,” the statement said.
Dish customers still could lose access to CBS-owned outlets in 14 cities: Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Sacramento. Also at risk are seven CW stations in Atlanta, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Francisco and Seattle; three independents in Dallas, Los Angeles and New York; and two MyNetworkTV affiliates in Boston and Miami.
Talks are continuing into the start of CBS’ Thursday primetime schedule, though The Big Bang Theory is a repeat.
CBS has complained that Dish Network, controlled by Chairman Charlie Ergen, dragged its feet in the contract talks. “In the last few weeks, we have granted two extensions, in the hopes that this would give both parties sufficient time to come to a resolution,” CBS said Tuesday. “The second extension, which protected Dish subscribers’ programming over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, was the final one.”
Dish said last month it was “actively working to reach a deal before the contract expires.” Ergen clearly wanted an agreement. Last month he praised CBS’ high ratings and “marvelous job with content creation. I think they’re the best at that, have been the best at that and certainly are a valued partner, so I would certainly think that you’ll see them on Dish.” But he added that the broadcaster’s decision to stream its stations’ programming — except for major sports including NFL football — for $5.99 a month via CBS All Access “makes that product less interesting” for pay TV distributors.
The dispute leaves open the possibility that Dish won’t be able to include the nation’s most popular network on a streaming service it plans to introduce by year’s end. Chairman Charlie Ergen has already lined up Disney, Scripps, and A+E services for what he has described as a low-priced bundle with fewer channels than in the conventional expanded basic package. He wants to target young people who don’t want or can’t afford the traditional bundle.
Also unclear is whether Dish will be able to offer Time Warner’s Turner networks. Due to an impasse over contract extension terms, its channels including CNN and Cartoon Network — but not TNT and TBS — were dark on Dish for a month ending November 21. They were restored while the companies continue to negotiate.