As Fox News continues into a second week of being blacked out on Dish Network’s systems, Dish chief Charlie Ergen is charging Fox with an “extortion” attempt, Variety reports.
“In a video message posted Dec. 24, Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen asserts that the crux of the carriage dispute involving Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network involves the effort by parent company 21st Century Fox to seek a new deal for an ‘unrelated’ channel that would have tripled the rates paid by Dish for that channel,” the story reports.
The report adds: “It’s unclear which channel Ergen is referring to but it’s believed to be either FXX or Fox Sports 1, the latest channel relaunches in the 21st Century Fox portfolio.”
Fox News is being “held hostage” to demand higher carriage fees for the “unrelated channel,” Ergen said.
He added, “Ironically, Fox News would be the first network to decry this kind of dealmaking. There’s nothing about this extortion attempt that was fair or balanced.”
More than 178,000 complaint calls have been registered with a toll-free line created by Fox for viewers to complain about the blackout, as well as 140,000 emails, the story says.