Dish, HBO Reach Accord

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EchoStar Communications signed a new long-term agreement to carry HBO and Cinemax on its Dish Network direct-broadcast satellite service, and HBO dropped a lawsuit against EchoStar over fees owed.

EchoStar said it wouldn’t disclose terms of the deal, adding that it dropped a pending program-access complaint against HBO at the Federal Communications Commission.

Last month, Time Warner-owned HBO sued EchoStar in federal court in New York, when it was disclosed that EchoStar and HBO were out of contract. HBO claimed in the since-withdrawn lawsuit that it was owed about $90 million from late payment of license fees dating to 2001, plus more than $30 million over underpaid or miscalculated fees.

EchoStar, in publicly responding to that HBO lawsuit, cited the pending program-access complaint at the FCC and described the lawsuit as an act of retaliation.

Meanwhile, Court TV, another Time Warner programming entity (in Turner Broadcasting System), remains off Dish Network in a contract dispute. EchoStar chairman Charlie Ergen had said that Court TV might be permanently replaced if a new deal wasn’t reached by Feb. 1.

An EchoStar spokeswoman said Monday that there was no change in Court TV’s status and that A&E Television Networks’ Biography Channel was still being shown in its place as a free preview.

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