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AT&T Warns U-Verse Customers of Possible Scripps Channel Exits

AT&T has
sent customers a postcard advising them of the upcoming expiration of a
number of carriage agreements for its U-verse multichannel video
service, warning them the channels could go missing
soon if deals are not struck.

On Oct. 31,
carriage agreements expire with Scripps networks DIY, Food,
Cooking, HGTV and Great American Country, as well as Outdoor channel.
There is a Nov. 30 deadline for FamilyNet and a Dec. 1
deadline for Bloomberg Television and Eternal Word Television.

According to
a copy of the postcard supplied to B&C/Multi, while AT&T says
it is making "every effort" to reach deals, it also warns customers that
there is "a possibility" that as of midnight on the
above dates "we will no longer have the rights to carry the programming
if a reasonable agreement cannot be reached."

It also used
the card to update its viewers on the ongoing impasse with Hallmark
Channels, saying that since customers were "denied a fair deal," they
were not currently available.

The Hallmark
Channel and Hallmark Movie channels are still not back on AT&T's
U-Verse systems five weeks after a Sept. 1 deadline that failed to
secure an agreement. But the two are now communicating,
according to a Hallmark source familiar with the stand-off.

"We regularly renegotiate and renew contracts with
programmers," said an AT&T spokesperson. "This is simply a way to
let our customers know what deals may be coming up for renegotiation
within the next 30 days. These types of customer notifications
are a 'business as usual' practice for many TV providers in our
industry and are legally required in some areas. "