As executives for Dish Network and Sinclair Broadcast Group traded accusations amid a rancorous carriage dispute, Sinclair’s stations were pulled from the Dish system, Deadline.com reports.
The move affects Sinclair’s 150-plus stations in 79 markets nationwide, the report notes.
Meanwhile, a “shouting match” between the two companies was unfolding via statements.
Dish released a statement in which SVP of programming Warren Schlichting said: “We have agreed to rates and all terms to carry Sinclair’s local stations. But Sinclair is blacking out 129 local stations in an effort to negotiate a carriage agreement for an unrelated cable channel that it hopes to acquire, but does not own today.”
Sinclair responded with its own statement, with EVP and general counsel Barry Faber saying: “Dish, which is reported to have engaged in more recent station blackouts than any other MVPD, is simply trying to spin the facts in an apparent effort to make a political statement. While Sinclair, unlike Dish, is not interested in negotiating this transaction in the press, Sinclair remains willing to negotiate a fair deal with Dish.”
The blackout comes nine days after the companies extended the deadline in their efforts to achieve a retransmission agreement, Deadline notes.
“Maryland-based Sinclair’s stations include affiliates of ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and the CW, and with the fall TV season approaching — and the NFL regular season a mere 16 days away — the stakes are high,” Deadline reports. “Sinclair last month re-upped is affiliate deal with CBS, which carries Sunday pro football games.”