Cable Operators

EchoStar, Turner Ink Carriage Deal

4/29/2004 10:25 AM Eastern

After months of tense talks, EchoStar Communications Corp. reached a deal Thursday to continue carrying several Turner Broadcasting System Inc. networks: Cable News Network, CNNfn, CNN Headline News, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, Turner Classic Movies and Turner South.

“We have an agreement in principle, and we’re still working out the details,” EchoStar spokesman Steve Caulk said.

Neither Caulk nor Turner spokeswoman Shirley Powell would comment on the terms of the agreement.

The carriage deal between the direct-broadcast satellite provider and Turner expired Dec. 31. Under a contract extension, both sides have continued negotiating and the Turner services have remained on EchoStar’s Dish Network lineup.

But EchoStar CEO Charlie Ergen, in one of his “Charlie Chat” sessions April 12, suggested that he might be prepared to drop the Turner networks, which would have been a repeat of actions during his contract dispute with Viacom Inc. in March.

In the tussle with Viacom, 9.4-million-subscriber EchoStar pulled the plug on CBS stations and MTV Networks cable services for 48 hours.

September