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Starz, Dish Renew Deal

Starz Entertainment Group LLC renewed its carriage deal with EchoStar Communications Corp.’s Dish Network, officials said Thursday.

Starz, part of Liberty Media Corp., and Dish forged a multiyear pact for carriage of the programmer’s services.

“We’re delighted to renew our affiliation agreement with EchoStar, which has been a key element in the growth of Starz for many years,” Starz spokesman Tom Southwick said. “We think the new agreement will enable both of our companies to accelerate that growth and bring Starz to even more customers of the Dish Network.”

Starz also won an additional one-month extension, until the end of April, for its carriage deal with DirecTV Inc.

Starz’s affiliation agreements with EchoStar and DirecTV expired March 8 and 31, respectively, according to Liberty’s 10-K. Last year, Starz earned 58% of its total revenue from DirecTV, EchoStar and Comcast Corp., according to the securities filing.

DirecTV is continuing to try to negotiate a settlement with Paxson Communications Corp., which is changing its name to Ion Media Networks Inc. The satellite provider filed suit against Paxson in January over the programming changes made to the Pax TV network, now called i, claiming that they violated the content restrictions of their affiliation agreement.

DirecTV carries both Paxson TV stations and i, the stand-alone national channel that airs Pax TV programming, which is moving away from original shows to infomercials and paid programming.

DirecTV agreed not to take any action to drop Paxson’s TV stations until at least April 14 so that they can continue trying to come to terms in the interim.