ABC Family-EchoStar Hearing Postponed


A hearing on ABC Family's bid to get an injunction barring EchoStar
Communications Corp. from dropping the network has been delayed from Thursday to
March 11.

U.S. District Court Judge Gary Feess, over the objections of ABC Family,
agreed to the postponement requested by EchoStar. The direct-satellite service
provider wants more time so it can prepare discovery for the hearing.

In the interim period, the judge extended a temporary restraining order that
prevents EchoStar from taking ABC Family off its service.

ABC Family and its owner, The Walt Disney Co., are suing to stop the DBS
company from dropping the programming service from Dish Network.

ABC Family filed an objection to the delay, alleging that EchoStar wants to
conduct 'a limitless, broad-ranging fishing expedition before a final decision
on the preliminary injunction is made.'

Both sides have been waging a nasty public battle in the dispute, with
EchoStar charging that Disney is trying to jack up license fees and Disney
saying that it is only seeking the price increases for ABC Family that are
permitted by an existing contract.