Dish Network avoids blackout of 45 Sinclair stations; signs 2-week extension on retrans deal

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Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) and Sinclair Broadcast Group said early Thursday that they agreed to a two-week extension of their retransmission-consent agreement, which expired at midnight.

After bashing each other publicly earlier in the week, the companies said they reached an agreement in principle that would allow Dish to continue carrying 70 Sinclair stations in 45 markets that air programming from ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC.

On Monday, Dish SVP of programming Dave Shull complained that Sinclair was demanding higher fees than any other broadcaster for retransmission consent. "This goes beyond pure corporate greed--it's profoundly insensitive to the needs of the public," Shull said in a statement.

Sinclair responded by noting that Dish pays higher fees for cable networks that draw smaller audiences than its TV stations, which are also available for free to viewers with over-the-air antennas.

Sinclair had been running messages on the websites of its TV stations in which it encouraged viewers to drop Dish for DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) and other pay TV providers in the event that the companies didn't reach an agreement. On Thursday, Sinclair was running messages on the sites of stations such as Fox affiliate WBFF-TV in Baltimore that stated it was "pleased to announce" a temporary deal with Dish.

For more:
- see the Sinclair release

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