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Fox Channels Go Dark for Dish, Sling TV Customers

ENGLEWOOD, Colo.—A retransmission consent and carriage fees dispute between Dish Network and Fox has led to a blackout of Fox local stations and cable channels for Dish and Sling TV customers as of Thursday, Sept. 26.

The blackout impacts the local Fox stations of 17 markets across 23 states and Washington, D.C., while cable networks FS1, FS2, Big 10 Network, Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Deportes were also removed.

According to a press release from Dish, Fox is demanding a double-digit percentage rate increase to continue carrying its local channels, as well as to “force bundle” its local channels and unrelated cable networks.

“Taken together, Fox’s actions are profoundly anti-consumer,” said Andy LeCuyer, Dish senior vice president of programming. “Fox is raising prices and turning its back on its public obligation to provide channels to consumers for free. It’s clear that Fox cares more about padding its bottom line than serving its viewers.

“We ask Fox to stop punishing its own viewers so we can focus on reaching a fair deal,” Lecuyer concluded.

In a statement given to Jon Lafayette of TVT’s sister publication Broadcasting & Cable, a Fox Corporation spokeperson said: “Dish/Sling is at it again, choosing to drop leading programming as a negotiating tactic regardless of its impact on its own customers. Dish/Sling elected to drop Fox networks in an effort to coerce us to agree to outrageous demands. While we regret this is Dish/Sling’s preferred approach to negotiating, we remind our loyal viewers that the Fox services are widely available through every other major television provider.”

Dish also announced that its customers can still access Fox stations through alternative methods. The company said that as it works to reach an agreement with Fox it will offer digital over-the-air antennas to affected Dish customers at no cost so they can still access local Fox stations. Dish said it would also install an antenna for qualifying customers in the impacted markets based on their available reception.

With the blackout, Dish subscribers in the 17 markets will not be able to access college football or NFL games that are set to air on Fox, as well as all other Fox station programming.

A full list of the markets affected by the blackout is available here.