Updated: Weather Channel Still On Dish As Carriage Talks Continue


The Weather Channel and Dish Network were still engaged in negotiations on carriage terms as of Saturday at 4 p.m. Eastern, two days after the satellite TV operator had threatened to pull the network off the air.

Dish's previous deal to carry The Weather Channel expired at 12:01 a.m. Eastern on Friday, May 21.

On Thursday, Dish announced that it planned to replace Weather Channel -- which would make it the first major distributor to drop the 28-year-old cable channel -- with Weather Cast, a 24-hour service produced by WeatherNation LLC, a startup based in Excelsior, Minn.

If Dish were to drop The Weather Channel, that would eliminate about 14 million homes from the network's 100-million-household reach. The network gets an average of 12 cents per month per sub, according to SNL Kagan.

The Weather Channel is owned by a consortium made up of NBC Universal and the private equity firms The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital.

Dish, exhibiting its notoriously hard-nosed negotiating tactics, said on a section of its site set up for customers Thursday that "our contract with The Weather Channel is expiring and they are demanding unreasonable contract terms that would impact customer pricing. We felt that the pending contract expiration presented an ideal opportunity to respond to feedback from customers who have been asking for better weather programming."

That page on Dish's site had been removed as of Friday morning. On Saturday, the page at www.dishnetwork.com/weather had the title "The Weather Channel Programming Updates" and the message, "This page is temporary unavailable. Please check back for updates periodically."

According to Dish's announcement Thursday, The Weather Channel "has recently moved away from weather reporting to a mix of movies and other entertainment-focused programming."

In its own statement Thursday, The Weather Channel said, "Despite negotiations over the past several months, Dish has chosen to be the first distributor to drop The Weather Channel, rather than pay the standard industry rates others in the industry have already agreed to pay... We are disappointed with their decision and hopeful that we can still reach an agreement with Dish Network and bring this highly valued network back to its customers."