Dish, CBS reach deal, averting blackout for customers

CBS NFL host James Brown

The deal comes after nearly three days of no CBS programming on Dish, including the NFL game on Thanksgiving Day, though it will allow football fans to watch SEC college games Friday and Saturday and an NFL doubleheader on Sunday.

CBS had demanded a sizable increase in the retransmission fees it charges Dish for the rights to retransmit its TV station signals.

Dish Network and CBS Corp. worked through Thanksgiving to resolve a fee dispute that returned CBS channels to the air for Dish customers late Thursday.

The two companies have reached a multi-year carriage agreement.

Besides rallying the TV remote soldiers, the dishpromise.com site offers a glimpse into Dish and CBS's tense negotiations.

The CBS blackout affected cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, San Francisco, Boston, Tampa, Seattle, Minneapolis, Detroit, Miami, Denver, Sacramento, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh.

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Warren Schlicting, Dish's executive vice president of marketing and programming, recorded a video featured on the site that explains how the company's carriage dispute with CBS is a microcosm of a larger, fractured relationship between broadcasters and pay-TV providers.

"We are pleased we have reached a deal with DISH, who recognizes the value that the number one Network brings to viewers in these markets", said Ray Hopkins, President, Television Networks Distribution, CBS Corporation.

As of the writing of this column, neither company has released final terms of the agreement.

CBS' blackout on Dish systems is over.

In the meantime, Dish stated it plans to provide subscribers in the affected markets with digital over-the-air antennas at no extra cost. Those channels - CBS Sports Network, Pop and the Smithsonian Channel - had also gone dark and are now back to normal for Dish customers. "Our customers are clear: they don't want to pay a CBS tax".

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