CBS, Dish Continue To Negotiate

Parties Trying to Reach Accord for O&Os, Showtime, CBS Sports Network
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CBS said it is continuing to negotiate with Dish as it tries to reach a renewal accord for 14 of its owned-and-operated stations, plus premium programmer Showtime Networks Inc. and national cable channel CBS Sports Network.

CBS on Dec. 2 publicly set the disconnect deadline for 7 p.m. tonight. The discussions follow a pair of extensions that CBS had granted to the nation’s No. 2 DBS provider to keep the properties available to its subscriber base while negotiations continued.

Shortly after 7 p.m., the programmer issued the following statement: "CBS remains on the air with Dish while negotiations progress into the evening." Dish later confirmed that discussions were ongoing.

If a deal can't be reached, Dish subscribers could lose access to CBS-owned stations in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Sacramento. Seven CW stations could also go dark, as well as three independents in LA, New York, and Dallas, plus MyNetworkTV affiliates in Miami and Boston.

The talks, which undoubtedly also center on digitial rights, continue as Dish has -- at least for the interim -- also sidestepped disconnects with Turner Broadcasting System and Comcast SportsNet regionals.

Turner and Dish agreed to a short-term extension last month that restored CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, truTV, TCM, HLN, CNN en Espanol and Boomerang to the DBS provider's 14 million subscribers across the nation.

That agreement also averted what could have been a drop of Turner’s top two channels, TNT and TBS, whose contracts were expected to expire on Dec. 5.

Sources said the interim pact spans into March, which would keep Turner’s coverage of “March Madness” in play to Dish subscribers.

Dish earlier this week also agreed to a short-term extension with NBC Sports Group for a quartet of CSN regionals. The contracts for CSN Chicago, Mid-Atlantic, California and Bay Area were set to expire on Dec. 2 , but the parties continue to talk. 

CSN New England has been dark to Dish subscribers since Aug. 1 in a separate license fee dispute.

Dish has never carried CSN Philadelphia or CSN Northwest and punted on SNY, operated by NBC Sports, which also has an equity position in the New York Mets' channel. It’s unclear if those RSNs and CSN New England are part of the negotiations.

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