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Dish Customers Lose Access to Turner’s CNN, Cartoon Network and Other Nets

Turner Broadcasting’s CNN, Cartoon Network and six other networks went dark on Dish Network early Eastern time Tuesday, after the companies were unable to come to terms on a new distribution deal.

Removed from the Dish lineup were: Boomerang, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, CNN, CNN en Español, HLN, truTV and Turner Classic Movies. Turner’s two biggest networks, TBS and TNT, are unaffected by the dispute.

Each side blamed the other for failing to reach an agreement. It’s the latest head-butting over carriage terms in the pay-TV biz, as programmers continue to seek regular fee increases for their networks. Dish had 14.05 million subscribers at the end of the second quarter of 2014. The satcaster is no stranger to carriage disputes with high-profile programmers.

Dish claimed Turner refused to extend the overall deal. “In the past year, Dish has successfully renewed agreements with many large content providers,” Dish SVP of programming Warren Schlichting said in a statement. “As a result, we are confident that we have offered a deal to Turner that reflects an appropriate value for our customers.”

[UPDATE, Oct. 29, 10 a.m. PT: Dish said Oct. 28 that “discussions continue” with Turner and that “we remain confident that we can reach an agreement to restore these channels.” In the meantime, the satcaster has swapped out the Turner channels in dispute from its lineup, which has included replacing CNN with MSNBC.]

Turner, for its part, said: “Despite our best efforts, we were unable to reach an agreement with Dish Network, and they have unilaterally decided to pull CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, truTV, TCM, HLN, CNN en Español and Boomerang off the air upon the expiration of our current deal. Turner has worked diligently for months to come to a fair agreement including multiple extensions and compromises, and it’s unfortunate that Dish is once again operating in a disruptive manner that takes away networks and programming from their customers. We are hopeful our counterparts will return to the negotiating table, and we’ll get a deal completed.”

Both companies have set up consumer websites with their talking points about the standoff: Dish’s is at DishStandsforYou.com and Turner’s is at SaveMyShows.com.

The only other blackout of Turner networks with a pay-TV distributor occurred last fall, when the programmer failed to renew its deal with The Washington Post Co.’s Cable One. TNT, TBS, CNN and other Turner networks returned to Cable One subs after dropping from the lineup for 25 days.

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