Lifetime, Dish Back to Talking

EchoStar Communications Corp. and Lifetime Entertainment Services had resumed negotiations late last week to restore the latter’s flagship women’s network to the Dish Network satellite-TV service, according to company officials.

At this juncture, EchoStar and the programmer are only discussing the return of Lifetime Television network to the Dish lineup, according the satellite service. On Friday, Lifetime would confirm only that negotiations are on.

Lifetime’s spinoff, Lifetime Movie Network, last week was replaced by Oxygen Media’s Oxygen, also aimed at women. That channel will be available as part of Dish Network’s America’s Top 120 package.

EchoStar said it had reached a long-term deal with Oxygen, which it had never carried before.

Dish dropped Lifetime and LMN on New Year’s Day in a dispute over an increase in the license fee EchoStar would pay for carrying the two networks.

The switch to Oxygen sparked a sharp response from Lifetime officials.

“As the two most popular women’s networks, Lifetime Television and Lifetime Movie Network are simply irreplaceable on all levels, as women have indicated by voting with their remote controls, where Lifetime’s total viewers in 2005 were eight times that of Oxygen and WE, while LMN’s household ratings double the other networks,” Lifetime said in a prepared statement.