Black Friday Surprise: DISH and CBS Reach Carriage Deal


What looked to be a bitter battle between DBS provider DISH Network and CBS Corp. over a new retransmission agreement has been resolved as of Midnight Eastern Time today (11/24).

DISH Network has reached a multi-year carriage agreement with CBS Corp. for all of its owned and operated local stations, including several affiliates of The CW and two MyNetworkTV stations.

The deal also includes a new retrans deal for the CBS Sports Network, Pop, and Smithsonian Channel.

The channels were being restored to DISH customers through the overnight hours.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“We are grateful to our customers for their patience this holiday week as months of work has resulted in a deal that delivers CBS for years to come,” said Warren Schlichting, DISH EVP/Marketing, Programming and Media Sales.

Neither DISH nor Schlichting commented further.

The quick resolution comes as a surprise that caught many off-guard on a holiday weekend when most media industry trade publications are closed; official statements announcing the resolution were dispatched just past 9pm Pacific and 7pm in Hawaii, when most families were returning from Thanksgiving holiday meals.

But, the new pact also arrives after CBS struck a fierce tone in its messages to the public as to why a new retrans deal could not come together without avoiding a yanking of its signals from DISH.

It was just two days ago, heading in to Thanksgiving, when CBS said, “We obviously want[s] to strike a fair deal with DISH as soon as possible — we remain far apart on terms.”

That suggested a new agreement could stretch well into December.

CBS had not been pulled off the air by a distributor since November 2014. The provider that yanked the signals? DISH Network, which failed three years to reach a timely deal with CBS.

Since then, CBS notes, it has struck “dozens of deals while DISH has pulled signals of 29 other companies off the air, representing nearly 400 television stations.”

CBS then took a defensive turn, saying that it “has been attempting to advance discussions with DISH since January of this year.”

But, it added that DISH is “desperate to retain subscribers” and suggested that the parties sign an extension.

Why wasn’t that agreed to by CBS? It is something the company has done on other occasions, but only when a resolution is close.

Now, one must ask how a resolution came just 48 hours later, if the companies were “far apart on terms,” with Schlichting assailing CBS for not agreeing to a short-term contract extension to CBS that would include a retroactive true-up when new rates were agreed upon. This would have preserved the ability of DISH customers to access the CBS stations while negotiations continued.

For its part, Ray Hopkins, CBS Corp. President of Television Networks Distribution, said, “We are pleased we have reached a deal with DISH, who recognizes the value that the number one Network brings to viewers in these markets. DISH customers will continue to get CBS’ must-have content, while we are also able to achieve our short and long-term economic and strategic goals.”


The impacted stations are as follows:

* WUPA-TV, Channel 69 (CW, Atlanta)
* WJZ-TV, Channel 13 (CBS, Baltimore)
* WBZ-TV, Channel 4 (CBS, Boston (Manchester))
* WSBK, Channel 38 (MyTV, Boston (Manchester))
* WBBM-TV, Channel 2 (CBS, Chicago)
* KTVT-TV, Channel 11 (CBS, Dallas-Ft. Worth)
* KTXA-TV, Channel 21 (Independent, Dallas-Ft. Worth)
* KCNC-TV, Channel 4 (CBS, Denver)
* WWJ-TV, Channel 62 (CBS, Detroit)
* WKBD-TV, Channel 50 (CW, Detroit)
* KCBS-TV, Channel 2 (CBS, Los Angeles)
* KCAL-TV, Channel 9 (Independent, Los Angeles)
* WFOR-TV, Channel 4 (CBS, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale)
* WBFS-TV, Channel 33 (MyTV, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale)
* WCCO-TV, Channel 4 (CBS, Minneapolis-St. Paul)
* WCBS-TV, Channel 2 (CBS, New York)
* WLNY-TV, Channel 55 (Independent, New York)
* KYW-TV, Channel 3 (CBS, Philadelphia)
* WPSG-TV, Channel 57 (CW, Philadelphia)
* KDKA-TV, Channel 2 (CBS, Pittsburgh)
* WPCW-TV, Channel 19 (CW, Pittsburgh; also available in Johnstown-Altoona-State College PA)
* KOVR-TV, Channel 13 (CBS, Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto)
* KMAX-TV, Channel 31 (CW, Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto)
* KPIX-TV, Channel 5 (CBS, San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose)
* KBCW-TV, Channel 44 (CW, San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose)
* KSTW-TV, Channel 11 (CW, Seattle-Tacoma)
* WTOG-TV, Channel 44 (CW, Tampa-St. Petersburg (Sarasota)