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Food Network Pulled Off AT&T U-Verse in Latest Battle Over Fees

No Scripps programming for 2.7 million AT&T U-Verse customers

Another week, another cable carriage dispute.

Scripps Networks, which pulled its HGTV and Food Network off Cablevision earlier this year following a similar disagreement, is now embroiled in a battle with AT&T.

Scripps programming was pulled off the air for AT&T U-Verse's 2.7 million customers early Friday, and the sides are currently engaged in an increasingly familiar war of words.

Here's the statement from AT&T:

We’re extremely disappointed that Scripps Networks won’t provide a fair deal for AT&T customers. Our team has been working for weeks to reach a fair agreement, but Scripps Networks ultimately refused to put in writing key terms that had been agreed upon verbally, leaving our customers without a fair deal as our extended contract expired.

Unfortunately, this is yet another example of a network punishing its own viewers for leverage in programming negotiations. Scripps Networks is demanding that AT&T pay double what other competitors pay — including smaller-sized affiliates — and has yet to provide a proposal that gives AT&T a choice in the channels we carry and pay for, despite repeated requests.

Scripps Networks also wants this premium price for inferior access to their content for our customers on other platforms, even though other competitors get this at much lower prices. With such an uneven playing field, they are harming AT&T’s ability to provide customers with a new video choice.

We will continue to fight for a fair deal to bring these channels back to our lineup because our customers deserve the programming they want, at a fair price.

And one from Scripps president John Lansing:

Let me start by saying this impasse is not about money. We reached an agreement in principle with AT&T U-verse on the distribution fees we would receive for these networks well in advance of last month’s contract deadline. AT&T U-verse demanded unreasonably broad video rights for emerging media where business models have not even been established. Accepting their demands would have restrained our ability to deliver our content to our viewers in new and innovative ways.

Last week, Fox and Cablevision ended a particularly nasty fight over carriage fees, following nearly a two week blackout for Cablevision's 3 million New York-area subscribers.

Earlier this year, Cablevision and WABC in New York sparred, but an agreement was reached just minutes before the Academy Awards were to air.