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CBS, Dish Reach Retrans Accord

Dish Network’s retransmission-consent battle with CBS ended almost as soon as it began, with the parties reaching a comprehensive retransmission-consent and carriage accord early Saturday morning, mere hours after the networks went dark to select subscribers.

CBS owned-and-operated stations in 18 markets went dark to select Dish customers at 7 p.m. on Friday after months of negotiations. While CBS expressed extreme frustration in what it called Dish’s foot-dragging in reaching a deal, Dish had stressed that talks continued even as the blackout was implemented.

The standoff ended up lasting less than a day. In a joint statement Saturday morning, Dish and CBS said they had not only reached a retransmission-consent deal for the stations, but a carriage accord for CBS Sports Network, Smithsonian Channel, TVGN and Showtime Networks, including Showtime TV Everywhere and video-on-demand rights.

In addition, all pending litigation against the company has been dropped, and Dish has agreed to disable its Auto Hop ad-skipping functionality for CBS owned stations in the C7 window.

“We are very pleased with this deal, which meets all of our economic and strategic objectives,” CBS Television Networks Distribution president Ray Hopkins said in a statement. “We look forward to having Dish as a valued partner for many years to come.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We are pleased to continue delivering CBS programming to our customers, while expanding their digital access to Showtime content through Showtime Anytime,” said Warren Schlichting, Dish senior vice president, programming in a statement.

The agreement includes retransmission consent for CBS owned stations on Dish in New York (WCBS and WLNY), Los Angeles (KCBS and KCAL), San Francisco (KPIX and KBCW), Dallas (KTVT and KTXA),  Denver (KCNC), Boston (WBZ and WSBK), Chicago (WBBM), Pittsburgh (KDKA and WPCW),  Atlanta (WUPA), Baltimore (WJZ), Detroit (WWJ and WKBD), Miami (WFOR and WBFS), Minneapolis (WCCO), Philadelphia (KYW and WPSG), Sacramento (KOVR and KMAX), Seattle (KSTW) and Tampa (WTOG).

The agreement also grants Dish rights to Showtime video-on-demand content and authentication rights for Showtime Anytime, and includes a path to over-the-top distribution of Showtime Networks.

Dish chairman Charlie Ergen has said the company is on track to launch an over-the-top service, including network content from channels owned by The Walt Disney Co., Scripps Interactive Networks and A&E Networks, by year-end.

With the deal, the parties avoid any consumer consternation that may have emanated from football fans missing the SEC Championship game between top-ranked Alabama and Missouri on Saturday on CBS, not to mention Black Rock's slate of NFL action on Sunday.