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Marianne Paskowski

Dishies Want Their Court TV

January 5, 2007 6:14 PM

It’s been only several days since Court TV went dark on the Dish Network, as their respective parent companies, Turner Broadcasting System Inc. and EchoStar Communications, were unable to negotiate a carriage renewal deal. It’s a rare day when a top 20 cable net, which Court TV is, goes dark, but both sides seem to be at a dead draw.

But as of this writing, more than 31,000 Court TV junkies have called an 800 toll free line to find out where else they can get the net, according to TBS spokesperson Misty Skedgell.

If you call 800-710-1922, the phone menu will prompt you to either call Dish Network’s arch-rival DirecTV, or hit another number to find out who the cable provider is in your area. To read more about what’s behind this very public spat, don’t miss my column next Monday online or in print.

So the burning question is how long will the stalemate last? I bet at least several weeks. Any takers?


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Comments (19)

Jeff Mulligan:


Cut to the chase. Either dish and cable nets are common carriers, or they are not. If not, these kinds of squabbles seem to be inevitable.

If, as many Americans increasingly seem to feel, the carriers are indeed common carriers, the viewing public will be served. But, if negotiations and strong-arming continue to determine carriage, the public will in time be left with as much confusion as the current Medicare drug benefit creates for senior citizens. People who want Court TV will have to go with one of Dish's rivals, for example, but will they have to subscribe to Dish if they want a network that's gone dark on one of those rivals? Interesting question for the media community and the viewing public.

In the meantime, don't mess with the History Channel!


David Eppenstein:

Well now here's a real world tragedy, TV addicts won't be able to watch their Court TV. Here's an idea. How about if these Court TV couch potatoes got off their fat divans and actually went to their local courthouse to witness real court, no TV. As a nation we watch too much TV and anything that helps interrupt or moderates that habit is OK in my book. A long time ago, when I was a kid, there was an appliance dealer that sold TVs on installments that you paid by way of meter on the TV. The Quarter Meter Bank, as it was called, controlled the power to the TV for a set period of time. In order to keep watching TV you had to keep feeding the meter quarters. Now if the government could install such devices on all of the TVs, VCRs, DVDs, game boxes, etc. we could probably retire the deficit, lower income taxes, cure mental illnesses without drugs, and become a happier and more productive nation. I have to end this now Oprah is on.

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Jeff,
It's surpising how rarely a cable or satellite provider actually drops a cable network. Where I do see things heating up is over broadcasters pulling local signals from cable ops who are not caving into high prices to run the local signals. Case in point, Sinclair Broadcasting pulling more than a dozen TV stations from Mediacom systems, larely in Iowa.

But the heat is on now with Comcast, the nation's largest cable company which could possible see 30 broadcast stations be pulled if it doesn't meet broadcasters' demands.

We subscribed to Dish network for access to a few limited channels--court tv was one of them. So many of the other programming choices are of no interest to us whatsoever. What is frustrating to us is that we just signed up 3 months ago so if we want to discontinue and go with DirectTV, supposedly we must pay a penalty. Direct tv also has satellite internet available too. Perhaps we should bite the bullet and go that route...

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi David,
Hope you enjoyed Oprah, I'm too young to watch that or Court TV which skews toward the 60 demo. Probably yours. Whatever. I can still see Court TV, but I'm not a fan, and I sould be. I attempted to watch the Christa Worthington r trial and found it boring.

That's my thing. That's how the scales of justice work. Guess you need you have a lot of time on your hands for this stuff to be compelling. I don't.


Marianne Paskowski:

Oh Hannah,
Bummer. Maybe you should just be patient. As far as I know, no big trials up on Court TV. Dish eventually resolves its problems with programmers. In the meantime, go out, take in a movie, highly recommend "Litle Miss Sunshine," and forget about stupid TV.


A. Padilla:

Hey David Eppenstein, I do not know you or the people you hang out to watch tv with but I for one, do not have a fat divan and am not a couch potato, either. I am a single mother of three, working, and going to school. I am currently in my last year of a degee program in Forensic Psychology. I will bet that I get more done in one day than you could ever do in two weeks. I hardly ever have time to sit down and watch a half hour sitcom, and could not tell you anything about any of the major lineups. However, due to my course of study, I frequently am required to investigate, watch, review, or critique many of the shows that Court TV runs. It is the only channel my television is set on.
I would suggest that before you spout off about something you obviously know so little about, you check yourself which will save you from looking like the utter fool you so brilliantly portrayed by your post. How perfectly pompus of you to suggest all the worlds ills are caused by a nation watching too much tv. How silly of me not to have realized that my mother did not have to die of cancer 5 years ago, that she would have lived if only we had not watched tv. Now that I know, I guess my fathers death 7 years ago could have been prevented as well. Well, thank God we have narcissists like yourself to point out the faults and errors of us lowly souls who happen to need, like, or want a particular channel we pay good money to have.
IMaybe you can sell your theory to Oprah, but then again, maybe not for she does not suffer fools lightly. Smart woman, she!
I am most interested to know what caused your accusatory and negative tirage on unsuspecting people who legitimately air dissappointment over something they do not understand. What is it that made you think it was ok to lambast in such an insulting manner? Did you not get a talking Elmo doll for Christmas, or did your mother use her tupperwear bowl to cut your hair when you were a kid, or even to this day? I find it facinating the superior air you so carefully used in your post. I would be interested to see if your occipital ridge is overdeveloped as that would certainly explain a great deal.

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi A Padilla,

I love your story, coming from a Court TV fan. To quote David Bowie, "I believe in America," and I hope Mr. Eppenstein comes back to reconcile with you. Thanks for sharing.

Were you actually affected by the drop of Court TV?


A. Padilla:

Yes it provided a wealth of information that I use in my course of study. Interestingly enough I have noticed a slight shifting in programming from A & E in the last week or two. They host a few programs such as "The first 48", phsycic detectives, cold case files just to name a few and it looks like they are trying to fill the hole a bit, left by court tv. My daughter just gave me the phone number to call to reinstate it so I will do that also.
Thanks, by the way.

A. Padilla

Marianne Paskowski:

Glad to help and good luck. Saw another ad just minutes ago on TV, saying Court was still off Dish and to phone the number I earlier provided.


hi i am another fan of court tv.i am with dish just started last summer. not impressed at all, took court tv off substituted biography channel. now i have 2 but cost never went up or down. if i pass up murder she wrote one place i can be sure to catch it where court tv was.not only do i feel a little mad about this. but i feel maybe time to get back on the cable or go back to direct which i just left last year. seriously i am upset some not the end of the world but really enjoyed almost all programming on court tv. thanks

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Terry B.

Saw something that is not going to make you a happy camper. Even with the loss of distributionon on DISH, Court TV is not losing money because its ratings (and ad dollars) are on the upswing. Sure, Court TV could be doing even better if it had those DISH subs.

But given what I just wrote, neither party, for now is not likely to give an inch in the negotiations.


Having been employed by a large corporate law firm in Los Angeles, I know the tactics of negotiating an amicable contract; however, these were not usually to the detriment of their clients.

It is unfair that Dish (i) abruptly disconnects channels from their network for which their subscribers are paying extra, and (ii) it is even more unconscienable that Dish would even consider puling this channel from their 180 list only to reconnect it at an extra charge to their subscribers.

Unless Echostar reconnects CourtTV within the next month, I will personally cancel my subscription and inform other subscribers to do the same.

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Diane,
Clearly EchoStar chairman Charlie Ergen doesn't care about his subscribers. But we all have power to walk with our feet. So, for you, will it be DirectTV or a cable provider, or say even Verizon or AT&T.


Marianne Paskowski:


Heard from the Court TV folks, still both parties drawing a line in the sand. Only news: 220,000 DISH viewers have called the Court TV -800 number to either switch or bitch.


Marianne Paskowski:

Well the verdict is in. Court TV is back on DISH in its old slot.

Bill Tolbert:

On Feb. 09, 2007 I answered Charlie Ergan, by walking away from Dish TV. He doesn't care whether we want Court TV or not. I have also had constant billing problems since the system was installed.

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Bill,

So did you switch to cable for DirecTV?


Marianne Paskowski:


talk to us, what else is new? I'm not sniffing any cheese here.

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