Viacom networks including Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central could go dark for DirecTV customers at midnight in a dispute over fees.
Viacom says 20 million customers would be affected. DirecTV says Viacom is seeking a 30 percent increase -- more than a billion dollars -- in the fees it receives from DirecTV. Those costs would likely be passed on to customers.
"Unfortunately, Viacom sent a letter to our executives forcing us to take the channels away in order to gain leverage against us in negotiations, but we hope they wouldn’t do that to their DirecTV viewers," DirecTV says on its website.
Appealing to customers to complain to DirecTV, Viacom listed the entertaiment they would lose if no deal is reached: "No 'Dora,' no 'SpongeBob,' no 'Teen Wolf,' no '106 & Park,' no 'Daily Show,' no 'Colbert,' and no Snooki -- a regrettable and avoidable turn of events if there ever was one, and an outcome that our team has worked tirelessly to avoid."
Viacom says it has been "negotiating for months" and offered to extend its 7-year-old contract with DirecTV further past its June 30th expiration date. It also said the two sides had made recent progress in negotiations, but that "DirecTV has rejected all of our proposals to renew our agreement."
Seventeen Viacom networks are affected: Palladia, Centric, Tr3s, CMT, Logo, NickToons, VH1 Classic, TeenNick, Nick Jr., Nick@Nite, Spike, BET, VH1, TV Land, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and MTV.