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Dish, Fox Renew Pact

EchoStar Communications Corp. and News Corp. reached a last-minute retransmission-consent deal that kept 24 News-owned TV stations up on Dish Network, officials said last week.

The new multi-year carriage agreement, reached late last Monday night Pacific Daylight Time, covers a variety of Rupert Murdoch's broadcast properties: 21 owned-and-operated Fox stations; two UPN stations and one independent.

The old retransmission-consent deal between News Corp. and EchoStar was set to expire July 1, and the DBS provider had threatened to drop the Fox stations if an agreement wasn't reached.

The new retransmission-consent pact was finalized at 11:57 p.m. PDT last Monday, according to EchoStar spokesman Marc Lumpkin — just minutes before the deadline that would have seen the stations dropped.

There has been tension between EchoStar and Rupert Murdoch's company since the DBS provider last fall successfully bid against News Corp. to acquire DirecTV Inc.