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DirecTV Removes Crawl Threatening Trio Removal

DirecTV Inc. late Thursday removed on-air language threatening to drop pop-culture network Trio in an apparent first step toward resolving a contract dispute between the two companies.

The direct-broadcast satellite provider had been running a crawl on Universal Television Group-owned Trio's channel slot since Dec. 2, alerting subscribers that it would drop the service if it could not finalize a carriage agreement with Trio by Dec. 31, when the current distribution deal expires.

DirecTV represents more than one-half of Trio's 20 million-subscriber base.

"It's a positive sign that we're making progress in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement that would keep Trio on DirecTV," DirecTV spokesman Bob Marsocci said.

"Universal Television Group can confirm that we are engaged in talks with DirecTV regarding carriage of Trio," a Universal spokesman said in a prepared statement. "We look forward to being a part of DirecTV for a long time to come."

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.