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The expiration of a carriage deal between Dish Network and Tribune Broadcasting has prompted a lawsuit over messages to TV viewers.
On Monday, Dish filed suit against the Tribune subsidiary that operates WGN America, alleging a breach of contract.
“In a last-ditch bid to force DISH to accept its terms, DISH is informed and believes, and thereon alleges, that Tower created and broadcast, via its channels, disparaging content regarding DISH, its services and its performance,” states the complaint. “The campaign launched by Tower with these commercials cast DISH in an extremely negative light — Tower claims that DISH has not acted in good faith, that its performance and services are the worst in the industry, and even that DISH is a ‘disgusting’ company.”
According to Dish, the negative commentary violates a disparagement clause in its old contract. This is the second time this year that the satellite company has made this type of move. In March, in the midst of a separate retransmission dispute, Dish sued NBCUniversal over “call to action” warnings made by the broadcaster. That case is still pending.
In a statement, Tribune called the lawsuit frivolous.
“For almost nine days, since the expiration of the contract between our companies, Tribune Broadcasting has tried repeatedly to engage in meaningful negotiations with Dish Network,” said Gary Weitman, senior vp corporate relations at Tribune. “Instead, Dish has run to a courthouse to wage its campaign of delay and distraction, rather than sit down at the negotiating table and come to terms on a new contract.”
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