A long-running dispute between CBS and satellite TV company Dish Network has boiled over and impacted American TV viewers. After days of strong-arm bargaining, CBS Corp. has made good its threat to shut off its signal to Dish if the latter failed to agree a new deal to rebroadcast CBS’ programming.

As a result, Dish customers are no longer able to see shows such as ‘The Big Bang Theory’, ‘Blue Bloods’, ’60 Minutes’ and NFL football. The company’s largest market is Los Angeles, so it will be very keen to see this flare-up extinguished and normal service resumed as soon as possible.

Big Bang Theory
Dish Network customers may not be able to watch shows like 'The Big Bang Theory' if CBS goes ahead with its threat

Back on Tuesday (December 2nd), CBS issued a statement: “Unless agreements are reached... our viewers should be prepared to lose CBS from their Dish systems on Thursday evening.” That deadline of 4 p.m. Pacific time passed, so some had hoped that CBS’ threats were only be a strong bargaining tactic. The companies already only narrowly avoided a Thanksgiving blackout, agreeing a last minute contract extension on 25th November, and now the disagreement looks to impact upon the run-up to the holiday season.

For nearly six months, the two sides have had on-and-off negotiations for a new contract that covers CBS-owned television stations in 14 metropolitan markets, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento. The impasse in the negotiations would appear to be a hike in CBS’ retransmission fees with which Dish is unhappy.

With both sides looking to launch online streaming services, a continuation of the same deal but for even higher prices is not something that either side would be very pleased with, particularly as the economic model may well become redundant in the future due to technological advances.

“Only CBS can force a blackout of its channels," Dish said in a statement. "Dish is actively working to reach a deal before the contract expires. There is time for the two parties to reach a mutually beneficial deal.” No longer, it seems.

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