Tribune Calls Suit by Dish ‘Frivolous’

Tribune Broadcasting called a lawsuit filed by Dish Network in the middle of their retransmission dispute “frivolous” and “baseless.”

Tribune’s local TV stations and its WGN America network went dark to Dish’s satellite subscribers on June 12, with both sides pointing fingers at the other for not extending their carriage deal when it expired.

On Monday, Dish filed suit in U.S. District Court.

According to Colorado Public Radio, the suit accuses Tribune of conducting a smear campaign against Dish.

“In a last-ditch bid to force Dish to accept its terms, Tribune created and broadcast, via its channels and various websites, false, deceptive and defamatory content regarding Dish, its services and its performance,” according to the lawsuit.

Tribune said that instead of negotiation, Dish was engaging in delay and distraction with what it called a baseless and frivolous lawsuit.

“Throughout this process we have repeatedly offered Dish an extension through August 31, 2016, which Dish has continually rejected. We are exploring every avenue to get a deal done quickly,” a Tribune spokesman said.

“This is typical for Dish Network. Dish constantly puts itself before the needs of its subscribers and our local viewers,” the spokesman added. “Dish has forced other station groups and cable networks off its distribution system 15 times in the last three years—it’s one of the reasons the company has lost more than 150,000 subscribers in the last year alone.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.