Turner Girds for Dec. 5 Dish Blackout Of TNT, TBS

Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting stepped up its publicity campaign in its ongoing rights battle with Dish Network, alerting viewers of the possible loss of TNT and TBS on the satellite-broadcast service as soon as early December.

“Our efforts in recent weeks to restore the Turner networks to Dish customers have been rejected at every turn by Dish leadership,” Turner said in a statement. “The upcoming expiration on December 5 of our carriage agreement for TNT and TBS means Dish may drop those networks as well. We remain hopeful that we will reach an agreement that restores our networks to the air and eliminates the risk of Dish removing additional Turner networks from its channel lineup.”

If the two sides cannot come to an agreement, TNT and TBS would join a coterie of other Turner cable outlets that have already come off the air. CNN, HLN and Cartoon Network are among the Turner properties that are no longer available on Dish as a result of the two sides not being able to agree upon prices for new distribution rights. TNT and TBS, two of cable’s most popular networks, are transmitted by Dish under a separate agreement.

A Dish spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The latest update on the company’s DishStandsForYou.com website about the Turner dispute, dated Nov. 7, says, “We sincerely appreciate your loyalty — thank you for staying with us as we work to reach a fair and reasonable agreement with Turner.”

Programming affected would include TBS’ “Conan” (pictured, above) and TNT broadcasts of NBA games. Turner has set up the website SaveMyShows.com to inform its viewers of its side of the dispute.

Dish is also in the midst of negotiations with CBS Corp. over the right to transmit that company’s flagship CBS network as well as some of its cable properties. CBS has not yet offered specifics about which of the networks it owns will be affected if the two sides cannot reach terms by Thursday, November 20 – the deadline for their current agreement to run out.

CBS earlier Tuesday claimed Dish was moving too slowly in current talks.

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