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CBS Warns Viewers That It May Go Dark on Dish Network

CBS started alerting viewers Friday night that Dish Network could pluck out the Eye in certain markets, in the latest dispute to hit the pay-TV biz.

“Attention, Dish customers! You could soon lose CBS,” the broadcaster’s spots said. Over all, there are 14 CBS-owned stations covered under Dish agreement, plus seven CW, two My Network TV and three independent stations. CBS has relaunched keepcbs.com for the Dish dispute, in a replay of its carriage fight with Time Warner Cable last year.

CBS’s contract with Dish is set to expire Nov. 20. In addition, Showtime and CBS Sports Network could be affected on Dish if the companies fail to reach an agreement. As of the end of September, Dish had about 14 million TV subscribers, after losing a net 12,000 subs in the third quarter.

In a statement, Dish said: “Only CBS can force a blackout of its channels. Dish is actively working to reach a deal before the contract expires and has successfully negotiated agreements representing hundreds of stations in recent months that benefit all parties, including our viewers. We are unsure why CBS decided to involve customers in the contract negotiation process at a point when there is time for the two parties to reach a mutually beneficial deal.”

Dish’s website with info and updates on the CBS situation is DishIsOnYourSide.com (which prompts visitors to enter their ZIP code).

Separately, Dish is in a standoff with Turner Broadcasting over carriage terms. On Oct. 21, the satcaster lost access to CNN, Cartoon Network and other channels. Dish’s deals for Turner’s TNT and TBS are due to expire later this month. Dish chairman Charlie Ergen said the satellite TV carrier is prepared to drop the Turner networks for good, although he said he was hopeful of reaching a deal with CBS.

The Dish-CBS standoff could black out the following stations — KCBS (L.A.), WCBS (New York), WBBM (Chicago), WBZ (Boston), KYW (Philadelphia), WCCO (Minneapolis), WFOR (Miami), WJZ (Baltimore), WWJ (Detroit), KCNC (Denver), KDKA (Pittsburg), KOVR (Sacramento), KPIX (San Francisco) and KTVT (Dallas) — along with several CW and independent channels.

CW stations are WUPA (Atlanta), WKBD (Detroit), WPSG (Philadelphia), Pittsburgh (WPCW), KMAX (Sacramento), KBWC (San Francisco) and KSTW (Seattle); My Network TV stations are WSBK (Boston) and WBFS (Miami); and unaffiliated stations are KCAL (L.A.), WLNY (New York) and KTXA (Dallas).

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