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Dish poised to black out CBS as contract expires

Rob Golum
Bloomberg News

CBS Corp. said Dish Network Corp. is poised to black out its programming when a contract between the broadcaster and the satellite-TV service ends Nov. 20.

“Dish appears willing to drop the most popular programming in its entire channel lineup because it won’t negotiate the same sort of deal that other cable, satellite and telco companies have struck with CBS,” New York-based CBS said Tuesday in a statement.

Charlie Ergen, co-founder of Dish, has taken a hard line in talks for rights to programming from companies like CBS. His company, the No. 3 U.S. pay-TV service with about 14 million subscribers, blacked out channels from Time Warner Inc.’s Turner Broadcasting, including CNN and the Cartoon Network, in a dispute that began in October. Ergen said this month Turner is seeking a double-digit percentage increase in fees for CNN, while viewership is down by half.

“Only CBS can force a blackout of its channels,” Robert Toevs, a Dish spokesman, said in an email. “Dish is actively working to reach a deal before the contract expires.”

CBS, the most-watched TV network, fell 0.7 percent to $52.49 at 12:39 p.m. in New York. Dish, based in Englewood, Colorado, gained 0.8 percent to $65.78.