There’s one story which we do not like covering at Awful Announcing and that is the dreaded carriage dispute between a television network and a cable and/or satellite provider. In this case, it’s CBS vs. Dish Network. It’s been over a year since the last time CBS was taken off one of the major providers and that did not go very well for the provider and its subscribers.
In the latest war of words between CBS and Dish, there’s the 7 p.m. ET Thursday deadline in which CBS threatens to the pull the plug on its signals to the satellite provider if a deal isn’t made. The two sides have agreed to two short extensions which have kept CBS on the company’s systems.
If an agreement is not in place by Thursday evening, then CBS will pull its properties including its owned-and-operated local channels in fourteen cities including Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco, CBS Sports Network and Showtime.
CBS and Dish say they’ve been negotiating for the last six months without reaching an agreement. The last time CBS got pulled from a lineup was in August 2013 by Time Warner Cable just before the NFL season was to begin and observers felt CBS won the war by holding steadfast to its guns.
In this case, Dish has been known to be very stingy about fee increases to networks especially local regional sports networks and is currently fighting NBC’s Comcast SportsNet in four markets (Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington). The deal with the NBC Sports Regional Networks expired Tuesday, but again Dish signed a temporary extension to keep them on for now.
At this point, this appears to be headed to a showdown with Dish subscribers being stuck in the middle. Granted, there are some CBS shows that are of questionable quality, but “Big Bang Theory,” the NCIS franchise, etc. do have their fans. And with CBS Sports coming off the momentum of having the NFL’s most-watched game of the season in New England-Green Bay, losing 14 million homes comes at the worst possible time with the SEC Championship coming this Saturday and pro football steaming towards the playoffs.
As we see with Dish, they go for the temporary extension and if that doesn’t work, the network goes dark. Earlier this month, Dish and Time Warner argued and that left several networks including CNN dark for an extended period.
So as we approach this latest deadline, subscribers are left holding the bag and having their patience tested once again.