Scripps Stations Taken Off Dish

(Image credit: E.W. Scripps)

CINCINNATI—Dish has found itself in another retransmission dispute, this time with E.W. Scripps. Over the weekend, local TV stations in 42 markets owned by E.W. Scripps went dark for Dish subscribers as the two sides’ previous retransmission agreement expired without a new contract in place.

This is in addition to a separate retransmission dispute between Dish and Cox Media Group Stations.

According to Scripps, the impasse after five months of discussions is not centered on the rates that Dish pays, but “their inability to agree on other distribution terms.”

“Without an agreement in place, Dish subscribers are now missing out on our stations’ essential news, weather and entertainment programming,” said Brian Lawlor, president of Local Media for Scripps. “Dish’s refusal to negotiate to a fair agreement is preventing its customers from accessing pressing news during a global pandemic, a period of social unrest, an active political year and severe weather season for many parts of our country.”

Dish countered, saying that Scripps has been unwilling to negotiate and refused an offer to match the rates other pay-TV providers are paying for its stations before making a “take-it-or-leave-it” deal just prior to the contract’s expiration, Dish states.

“To be clear, Scripps chose to black out its own viewers,” said Andy LeCuyer, Dish senior vice president of programming. “We offered multiple extension options to keep the channels up while we continue to work toward reaching a deal during these unprecedented times, but they refused.”

Scripps claims that this is the first time since its founding in 1947 that their stations have gone dark with a pay-TV distributor.