Dish Network Sues Tribune Over ‘Dump Dish’ Campaign as Blackout Stretches Into Week Two

Dish network logo
Courtesy of Dish network

Dish Network has filed a lawsuit against Tribune Broadcasting, accusing the broadcaster of deliberately spreading false statements about the satcaster in the retrans fight that is now in its second week.

Tribune’s 42 stations and WGN America cabler went dark on Dish on June 12 after the sides could not come to terms on a retransmission consent deal. Both sides have pointed fingers for the shutdown and both have accused the other of refusing to agree to short-term extensions to prevent the blackout of Tribune’s CW, Fox, ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates reaching about 5 million subscribers on Dish’s platform and about 7 million subs for WGNA.


Dish network logo

Tribune Stations Removed From Dish Satellite Systems in Latest Distribution Battle

In the days leading up to the shutdown, Tribune created websites and other marketing materials warning viewers of the potential shutdown. Dish’s lawsuit, filed Monday in federal court in Colorado, asserts that the “dump Dish” campaign and claims that Dish ranks last in customer service among MVPD providers were disparaging and intentionally misleading. Dish’s suit claims Tribune’s actions amounted to “interference with contract and prospective economic advantage” and has damaged the company’s goodwill with its customers. Tribune’s use of the term “Dishgusting” is also discussed at length in the complaint.

“Tribune is therefore deliberately and purposefully interfering with Dish’s contracts with its subscribers as well as with Dish’s prospective economic advantage, both through current subscribers who terminate their agreement with Dish and through prospective subscribers who elect not to sign up for Dish services. Tribune’s interference with Dish’s contracts with its customers is not capable of being cured because, among other reasons, once a customer changes service providers, Dish cannot get them back. Dish has incurred and will continue to incur substantial damages as a result of these deceptive messages.”

Tribune said Tuesday the suit was “baseless” and an unnecessary distraction from the need to reach an agreement to restore Tribune signals.

“Dish has run to a courthouse to wage its campaign of delay and distraction, rather than sit down at the negotiating table and come to terms on a new contract,” said Gary Weitman, Tribune’s senior VP of corporate communications. “This lawsuit is baseless and we will respond to it in court.  But it does nothing to restore service to millions of Dish subscribers in our markets across the country, which should be Dish’s primary concern.”

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 12

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Roger says:

    If the dispute isn’t resolved by next month I’m leaving Dish network and I don’t think any customer should have to pay an early contract termination fee since we aren’t getting everything that we’re paying for. Dish haven’t reduced any monthly charges for its customers during this channel blackout nor have they offered any refund to us for the inconvenience. If Dish wins this lawsuit for loss of revenue are they going to extend any of these monies to their customers?

  2. Kathy says:

    I live in an area that can’t receive over-the-air free TV signals, so I rely on DISH to provide local channels for me. I don’t understand why Tribune wants to financially punish me. I am happy with DISH and have found viewing alternatives for Tribune stations. I stand with DISH.

  3. Kev Ung says:

    Personally, I am contacting Tribune advertisers and telling them I won’t do business with them until they stop advertising with Tribune. Give Tribune some of its own medicine.

  4. Joe says:

    I was amused when KTLA had a couple of their news anchors(Cher Calvin & Rick Chambers) asking Dish customers to do their work for them and call Dish to demand they keep Tribune. I sent them both a note telling them to stick their requests where the sun doesn’t shine. Rick just ignored it. But Cher, being the hypocritical witch she is, asked me not to write to her again. So, she wants to me to call Dish, but is going to whine when I drop her an email! Too stupid to see the hypocrisy. I’ll bet I know how she got that anchor job! (I’d write it here, but it would be deleted by the moderators.)

  5. Timothy says:

    I agree, lets behave like humans. I don’t have ABC now. Dish offered me 5$ off my bill. My thoughts are if they can offer me 5$ off my bill, I would rather have them give the 5$ to Tribune. Just so I have ABC. And for god’s sake no antenna would work where I live, unless it’s mounted on a 300 ft. pole.

  6. Glenda Rankin says:

    They are giving us antennas but when you live in the country they don’t work. Our channel 5 was the only way to get local news and weather I’m so over this by both you need to think of the customers and not the bottom dollar dish you should think of your customers that have been with you for a long time and have never got a break on there bill

  7. Jefrey Jefferson Santos says:

    Thats why still trying to make sure that everythig will be explain well to all subscriber of dish and trying to give back to all customer what they should paying.

  8. Sally says:

    Dish is starting to suck big time. I am about ready to drop them. Always having problems with keeping the
    Stations the have promised their costomers

  9. Dunstan says:

    So glad I don’t pay for television. What a waste. What a scam.

More TV News from Variety