×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Dish Sues NBCUniversal as Carriage Dispute Escalates

Update 4:38 p.m.: NBCUniversal issued the following statement in response to the suit: “Should Dish proceed with arbitration we will of course participate in the process, and look forward to receiving the fair market value for our portfolio of networks.”

12:08 p.m.: Dish Network has filed suit against NBCUniversal, the latest step in a rapidly escalating dispute over a new carriage agreement between the two companies.

In a suit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Illinois, Dish accused NBCUniversal of breach of contract after the latter launched a public campaign against the former Monday urging Dish customers to put pressure the satellite-television provider. Dish and NBCUniversal are locked in tense negotiations over a renewal of their carriage agreement. If a deal is not reached, Dish customers could lose access to NBCUniversal-owned cable networks such as USA, Bravo, Syfy, CNBC and MSNBC as soon as Sunday. Customers would also lose NBCUniversal-owned NBC and Telemundo stations in local markets including Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Chicago and Miami.

“NBC’s public statements against DISH over the past 24 hours are in violation of the contract between the two companies,” Dish said in a statement. “Today, DISH filed a breach of contract lawsuit against NBC to address those violations.”

Dish is expected to file for binding arbitration in a move to block NBCUniversal from pulling its feeds.

On Monday, NBC launched a public campaign as it sought to push Dish to give in on multiple issues, among them retransmission fees for the broadcast stations. An NBCUniversal-run website urged Dish customers to contact the carrier and demand that it do whatever would be necessary to keep NBCUniversal’s channels on the service.

Dish has engaged in multiple retransmission fights in recent years. A deadline looms for the company to renew its deal with Viacom to carry that company’s cable networks. Viacom chairman and CEO Philippe Dauman said this month that he expects a deal to be finalized by the next financial quarter.

AT&T and Spanish-language broadcaster Univision have been involved this year in a similar standoff over retransmission fees.

Read the statement from Dish below:

“NBC’s public statements against DISH over the past 24 hours are in violation of the contract between the two companies. Today, DISH filed a breach of contract lawsuit against NBC to address those violations.

“DISH has successfully negotiated agreements representing numerous networks in recent months that benefit all parties, including our viewers. DISH’s goal is to reach a mutually beneficial deal with NBC.

“However, based on NBCU’s actions to date, DISH currently expects to file for arbitration, which would prevent NBC from blacking out DISH customers.

“Under the conditions imposed by the FCC and Department of Justice in approving the Comcast-NBCUniversal merger, NBC is forbidden from blacking out its networks if a pay-TV provider chooses, in its sole discretion, to exercise its right for binding arbitration. Regulators implemented these conditions to prevent Comcast and NBC from harming consumers and competition.

“In the event of arbitration, affected programming would remain available during that process, and for the foreseeable future.”

More TV

  • Star Trek: Picard - Logo ©

    'Star Trek: Picard' Drops First Teaser Trailer, Poster (Watch)

    CBS All Access has released the first look at “Star Trek: Picard,” the new series that will see Sir Patrick Stewart reprise the iconic role of Jean-Luc Picard. Little is known about the plot of the series other than it is said to tell the story of the next chapter of Picard’s life. Stewart played [...]

  • SYDNEY TO THE MAX - Disney

    'Sydney to the Max' Renewed for Season 2 at Disney Channel (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Sydney to the Max” has been renewed for a second season at Disney Channel, Variety has learned exclusively. The series is set in the present day with flashbacks to the 1990s and follows outgoing middle schooler Sydney Reynolds (Ruth Righi) who lives with her single dad Max (Ian Reed Kesler) in the house he grew up [...]

  • CNN Will Test Comedy With Colin

    CNN Will Test Comedy With Colin Quinn Special

    On many days, wringing humor out of the current news cycle seems a fruitless task. CNN is going to give it a try. On Monday at 9 p.m. – in the last hours of Memorial Day – the cable-news outlet will air an hour-long show featuring comedian Colin Quinn, who will perform a version of [...]

  • Netflix Unveils Lonely Island Musical Tribute

    Netflix Unveils Lonely Island Musical Tribute to Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire

    The Lonely Island comedy troupe has dropped a half-hour Netflix special featuring a musical tribute to baseball greats Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. “The Lonely Island Presents: The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience” features Andy Samberg and Akiva Schaffer as the former Oakland Athletics teammates who became known as “the Bash Brothers” for their prowess at [...]

  • Netflix's Clarence Avant Doc 'Black Godfather'

    Barack Obama, P. Diddy, David Geffen Hail 'Black Godfather' Clarence Avant in Netflix Doc (Watch)

    The first trailer for “The Black Godfather,” Reginald Hudlin’s documentary about black entertainment trailblazer Clarence Avant, has been released. The film features interviews with Snoop Dogg, P. Diddy, David Geffen, Clive Davis, Diane Warren, Lionel Richie and Irving Azoff, among other industry titans. Former president Barack Obama also makes an appearance. Hudlin spent three years [...]

  • BBC Studios Names Anna Cronin Digital

    BBC Studios Names Anna Cronin Digital Content Director (EXCLUSIVE)

    Anna Cronin has been upped to director of digital content at BBC Studios, a new role at the production and distribution arm of the U.K. pubcaster. The position is within BBC Studios’ content partnerships division, which oversees the company’s programming and IP partnerships. Cronin will work with U.K. and international partners, and notably those in [...]

  • HBO Europe,The Mediapro Studio Lacoproductora Team

    HBO Europe, The Mediapro Studio, Lacoproductora Team On Comedy Series 'Whatever'

    HBO Europe is adding to its growing Spanish slate with “Por H o por B” (“Whatever”), a comedy series produced by Globomedia, part of TV giant The Mediapro Studio, and new Madrid-based company Lacoproductora. Written and directed by Manuela Burló Moreno, the 10-episode half-hour takes the characters from her Goya-nominated short film “Pipas,” with actresses [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content