Roughly two days before its retransmission-consent agreement for more than two dozen Fox Networks owned-and- operated stations was set to expire, Dish Network has reached a carriage deal that not only avoids a blackout of the broadcast networks, but restores more than 20 cable channels that have been dark on the satellite giant for nearly one month.
Fox Networks owned-and-operated broadcasting stations in 27 markets, including, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago, were set to go dark to Dish customers at midnight on Nov. 1 if a deal had not been reached. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but representatives from both companies said a compromise was reached that both could live with.
"After prolonged negotiations to reach a fair deal, we're pleased to enter into a long term agreement with Fox and to assure our customers that they can continue to enjoy these channels," said Dave Shull, senior vice president of programming for Dish Network in a statement. "We thank our customers, our retail and channel partners, and our employees for their support through these negotiations, which we believe resulted in a fair deal that reinforces Dish Network's position as the best value in television."
Fox seemed equally pleased.
"I want to thank our partners at Dish Network who worked tirelessly to help us reach a successful conclusion," said Mike Hopkins, president, Fox Networks affiliate sales and marketing in a statement. "This agreement provides a strategic partnership between Fox and Dish to bring the best programming to Dish subscribers."
Fox Networks pulled cable channels FX and National Geographic Channel and 19 regional sports networks on Oct. 1 after it could not reach a carriage agreement with Dish, the second largest satellite TV service provider in the country with about 14.3 million customers. Dish had complained that Fox was asking for exorbitant rate increases for the channels, while Fox claimed it was merely asking for fair value for its content.
The Dish agreement comes as Fox is locked in a bitter retrans battle with Cablevision Systems in New York and New Jersey. Fox went dark on Cablevision on Oct. 16 and the cable company has continuously asked for binding arbitration or government intervention to settle the matter. Fox has insisted that direct negotiations are the best path to a resolution. As of press time, that dispute continues.