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Key CBS Stations Go Dark on Dish

A day after its declared deadline, CBS has pulled the signals for stations in 18 markets from Dish Network in a retransmission-consent dispute.

The move came at 7 p.m. (ET) on Friday. CBS had granted a pair of extensions to continue offering its programming to Dish, but said it would disconnect on Dec. 4 at  7 p.m. However, the parties continued to negotiate last night and through most of Friday in an attempt to reach a new agreement over license fees and digital rights.

For its part, Dish said the impasse stemmed from the "unrelated CBS Sports Network."· The drop doesn't impact CBS's premium holding, Showtime Networks Inc.           

After failing to come terms, the Dish-CBS contretemps has resulted in darkness to the DBS provider’s subscribers in Los Angeles (KCBS), New York (WCBS), Chicago (WBBM), Boston (WBZ), Philadephia (KYW). Minneapolis-St. Paul (WCCO), Miami (WFOR), Baltimore (WJZ), Detroit (WWJ), Denver (KCNC), Pittsburgh (KDKA), Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto (KOVR). San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose (KPIX) and Dallas-Fort Worth (

Eight CW affiliates in Atlanta (KUPA), Detroit (WKBD), Philadelphia (WPSG), Pittsburgh (WPCW), Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto (KMAX), San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose (KBCW), Seattle-Tacoma (KSTW) and Tampa-St. Petersburg (KTOG) are also blacked out, as are independents in Dallas-Fort Worth (KTXA), Los Angeles (KCAL) and New York (WLNY), plus a pair of MyNetworkTV affiliates in Boston-Manchester (WSBK) and Miami- Fort Lauderdale (WBFS)

Charlie Ergen's company also faces a midnight contract expiration deadline tonight with Nexstar stations in 60 markets.

CBS said it has been trying to negotiating a carriage agreement with Dish for six months, but the No. 2 DBS player has been dragging its feet.

"What CBS seeks is appropriate compensation for the most-watched television network with the most popular content in the world, as well as terms that reflect the developing digital marketplace," the broadcaster said in a statement. "We hope that we can reach an agreement very soon so we can all get back to the business of providing the best entertainment, news and sports to the Dish customers we both serve."

More than hour after the darkness ensued, Dish issued this statement: “We are disappointed that CBS has chosen to black out their local channels, but remain optimistic that the channels will return quickly as both sides are continuing to work tonight to finalize an agreement.”

This marks the second time in 15 months that CBS has been out of contract with one of the nation's top four distributors. In August-September of 2013, CBS was not accessible to Time Warner Cable customers in several key markets for a little over a month. The disconnect encompassed 13 CBS-owned stations in eight markets, inlcuding the Dallas, New York and Los Angeles DMAs, plus cable services Showtime, TMC, Flix and Smithsonian Channel across TWC's full national footprint.

After finally reaching terms that were largely viewed as a favorable to the broadcaster, Time Warner Cable took a double hit: it lost some 306,000 subscribers in last year's third quarter, defections that were mainly attributable to the absence of the CBS properties.

Nexstar said it has been negotiating with Dish for over a month and this afternoon expressed hopeful that a renewal could be struck. Nexstar stations offer a broad array of content via affiliate deals with NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, MyNetworkTV, The CW, Telemundo, Bounce TV, Me-TV, and LATV as well as local news and other programming produced specifically for local communities.

Last month, Dish managed to gain an extension with Turner Broadcasting System that returned eight networks to its air and forestalled the loss of TNT and TBS. The interim agreement, according to sources, is expected to last into March, meaning Dish customers would be able to see the NBA All-Star Game weekend festivities, as well as much of the March Madness college basketball tourney.

Earlier this week, Dish also reached an extension with NBC Sports Group to maintain the signals for a quartet of Comcast SportsNet regionals. The contract for CSN Chicago, Mid-Atlantic, California and Bay Area was set to expire on Dec. 2.