CBS has chosen not to blink in its standoff with Dish Network.
Effective 7 p.m. ET Friday, CBS programming is no longer available in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Dallas, Denver, Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh and several other markets, the network said.
The decision to go dark in those cities follows a protracted dispute between the two companies over how much Dish should pay to carry CBS programming, a dispute that has occasionally turned ugly, with harsh words being hurled on both sides.
In a statement issued Friday, CBS said that it has attempted to resolve the dispute for six months, granting two extensions, and accused Dish of “dragging its feet at our many attempts to negotiate in good faith.”
“Behavior like this is why Dish has a long history of depriving customers of the programing they have paid for,” the network’s statement continued. “In the past year alone Dish has dropped more than 121 local stations as well as several cable networks including CNN, Cartoon Network and Comcast SportsNet New England, among others. Meanwhile, CBS has only been off the air one other time in its history.”
The latest deadline for an agreement between CBS and Dish expired Thursday.
Despite the accusations of foot-dragging, the network added that it would like to reach a mutually agreeable deal and resolve the issue “very soon.”
“We hope that we can reach an agreement very soon so we can all get back to the business of providing the best entertainment, news and sports to the Dish customers we both serve,” CBS said.
For its part, Dish claims that the blackout is due to an impasse on negotiations for the “unrelated” CBS Sports Network.
Noting that the blackout affects more than more than 2 million Dish customers, the company says that it “remain[s] optimistic” that the conflict will be resolved, and that the companies are working on a solution Friday night.
“We are disappointed that CBS has chosen to black out their local channels, but remain optimistic that the channels will return quickly as both sides are continuing to work tonight to finalize an agreement,” Dish said in a statement.
In between the extensions and negotiations, the back-and-forth between the two companies has been heated at times. In November, CBS accused Dish of “dragging its feet” while the two companies were trying to hash out how much Dish should pay to carry the network.
“Dish has been deliberately dragging its feet for months,” CBS said in an earlier statement. “Now, as the deadline nears, 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.”
“Not reaching agreements is nothing new for Dish,” the network added.
Dish countered that it has been “actively working to reach a deal before the contract expires,” noting, “Only CBS can force a blackout of its channels.”