DirecTV, TV Station Group Hearst Reach New Program Deal


Satellite TV giant DirecTV and station owner Hearst Television have reached a new carriage deal ahead of a deadline of Friday midnight going into Saturday, the companies said Thursday afternoon.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The resolution of the retransmission consent talks that covered 29 Hearst stations comes as cable giant Time Warner Cable and station owner Sinclair Broadcast Group are in another retrans showdown over program fees with the same deadline. Those talks look like they will go down to the wire.

The negotiations come at the end of a year of contentious talks between broadcasters and TV distributors.

Also on Thursday, Comcast cable networks E! and Style said they are in their own program fee dispute with satellite TV provider Dish Network. It wasn’t immediately clear at what stage the talks are in, with Comcast saying the parties are currently negotiating and Dish indicating they are at a stalemate.

"We are in active negotiations with Dish Network," E! and Style said in a statement Thursday. "We are trying to reach a fair agreement, however, it is our belief they will once again turn their backs on their subscribers by dropping the networks and holding E! and Style fans hostage."

The networks have reached out to subscribers to urge Dish not to drop the channels at day's end Friday, noting that the negotiations come just ahead of the season premieres of E!'s Kourtney & Kim Take New York and Style's Kimora and Jerseylicious as well as upcoming red-carpet coverage from various Hollywood awards shows. A website (fansfightback.com) and phone line (877-5-Fans-Fight) have been set up for viewers.

Dave Shull, senior vp programming at Dish, said: “Dish Network has been negotiating diligently with Comcast for some time for continued carriage of E! Entertainment Television and Style. We’re disappointed that Comcast is now unwilling to engage in good faith negotiations. We remain willing to meet with them to continue the discussions.”

Georg Szalai reported from New York; Kimberly Nordyke reported from Los Angeles.

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