Fox says it did not try to force Dish to buy a car along with a house, as Dish suggested last last night when carriage talks failed to reach resolution before the midnight deadline. Fox News Channel and Fox Business Channel were pulled from the operator shortly before midnight.
“We’re not asking Dish to do anything we haven’t already asked…and gotten agreed to, in contracts with any of our other providers,” Tim Carry, EVP Distribution at Fox News Channel told Deadline this morning.
“Dish is operating the company like they’ve always operated the company – they haven’t changed the way they package or price since 1993 and they’re trying to force programmers to continue to operate in an antiquated environment. We just asked them to do what all our other operators at this point haves done. They are the only one of the big operators who aren’t providing our services like everybody else is providing them.”
Last night, Dish SVP Programming Warren Schlichting said of the situation: “It’s like we’re about to close on a house and the realtor is trying to make us buy a new car as well. Fox blacked out two of its news channels, using them as leverage to triple rates on sports and entertainment channels that are not in this contract.”
Responded Carry this morning: “I love the whole ‘real estate and car’ thing – I thought that was pretty brilliant, but pretty inaccurate. That’s not what we’re asking. What [Dish is] looking at is a mansion, and you want to buy it like it’s a double lot.”
Dish also said last night it had offered Fox a short-term contract extension that would preserve the channels as negotiations continued. Carry called that putting “the cart before the horse.”
“If you’re going to extend something you’ve got to have some good faith stance or position, or meeting of the minds” on which you agree to continue talking. “We don’t have a meeting of the minds,” he said.
“My line is open. I told them last night, I’m willing to talk any time they want,” Carry added.
Right now, Carry said Fox’s focus is getting FNC fans switched from Dish to another service ASAP. Fox this morning fielded 12,000 phone calls to the 800 phone number it set up after warning Dish viewers they might lose the two news channels — 7,000 of whom wanted to be transferred immediately to Dish to disconnect, Carry claimed. “On social they’re getting slammed,” Carry added. “What I’m trying to do now is make sure all those people get Fox News back in their homes as quickly as possible.”