Dish and Disney Settle Family Spat

4/05/2002 4:22 AM Eastern

Dish and Disney Settle Family Spat

Following a long-waged battle, EchoStar Communications Corp. and The Walt
Disney Co. late Thursday announced a meeting of the minds, striking a
far-reaching carriage agreement encompassing ABC Family, ESPN Classis and ABC's
broadcast network.

EchoStar earlier this year dropped ESPN Classic and threatened to drop
Disney's newest cable network, ABC Family.

EchoStar has signed a long-term carriage deal for ABC Family, and will return
ESPN Classic to Dish Network later this month.

Although the deal with EchoStar secures roughly six million subscribers for
ABC Family, the channel's status with other video providers remains less

Cable insiders contend that because ABC Family has not yet had a chance to
build a strong brand or develop a large fan base for the network, MSOs could
easily drop Family once it's out of contract, with little public outcry.

'It's not like the Yankees Network,' one executive said.

As part of the deal with EchoStar, Disney has agreed to dismiss pending
litigation in Federal Court in Miami over distant network transmissions for ABC
broadcast channels.

EchoStar said earlier this week that it wants the Supreme Court to allow the
direct-broadcast satellite provider to send local broadcast channels anywhere in
the country.

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