CBS denied a claim by Dish Network that the network demanded "The Big Bang Theory" star Kaley Cuoco delete a tweet endorsing the satellite company, which CBS is suing.
As TheWrap exclusively reported Wednesday, Cuoco tweeted a Dish endorsement even as CBS, which airs her hit sitcom, is locked in litigation with Dish. Dish said it paid Cuoco for the tweet, which was deleted after TheWrap inquired about it.
CBS and the other networks are suing Dish over a feature of its Hopper service that enables Dish subscribers to watch primetime shows — like "The Big Bang Theory" — without commercials.
Cuoco's representatives did not reply to requests for comment. Warner Bros. TV, which produces "Big Bang Theory" and employs Cuoco, declined to comment.
Dish was caught off-guard by the tweet being deleted, and accused CBS Thursday of silencing its star.
"It’s disappointing that CBS – once the exemplar of editorial independence and innovation – continues to use its heavy hand to hold back progress from consumers," DISH president and CEO Joe Clayton said in a statement Thursday.
CBS denied it demanded Cuoco delete the tweet.
"Once again, Joe Clayton demonstrates his dubious gift for hyperbole and hucksterism," the network said in a statement to TheWrap. "No demands were made, but it’s clear that Dish’s culture of fabrication is alive and well.”
Dish is known for its tough negotiations and for getting under the skin of networks with which it has conflicts. Recruiting Cuoco, the star of one of CBS's top shows, might seem an ideal way to rankle the network. But Dish said it paid her for the tweet because of her influence, just as it has paid others to endorse its products online.
Cuoco seems be the only one, however, who appears on a network that is suing Dish.
Cuoco, who has more than 1.2 million Twitter followers, is one of many people who have found that they can make extra money from the burgeoning field of Twitter endorsements. The actress has also done TV ads for Toyota and Priceline.
The networks say the Hopper's ad-skipping Auto Hop technology threatens the ad-supported television models that allows shows like "The Big Bang Theory" to exist. In May, before the networks sued, CBS CEO told TheWrap that he considers the technology "illegal."