AMC accuses Dish of 'retaliation' for burying net on dial

DISH-NETWORK

Hey, Dish Network subscribers: Having a hard time finding AMC on your dial?

That’s because the satellite provider relegated the cable network from Channel 130 to 9609 on Monday after the net began running spots during Mad Men warning Dish customers that it will lose AMC programming by June 30. As a result, Dish moved AMC and its sister nets WE and IFC from lower, more accessible channels (128 and 393) to 9608 and 9607, respectively.

Though Dish has cited the channels’ high costs and low viewership as a reason why it’s dropping the channels, one source close to the cabler said the move has less to do with a carriage dispute — i.e. how much the satellite company pays to air AMC programming — and more to do with an ongoing lawsuit between the two companies that involves a bunch of high-definition channels that no longer exist.

“It is unfortunate that, in retaliation for an unrelated lawsuit, DISH is punishing its customers by threatening to drop the AMC Networks, and with this sudden, dramatic change in channel position, making it extremely difficult for their customers to find and watch some of the most popular and acclaimed shows on television,” according to a AMC Networks statement. “We’ve begun letting fans of Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, The Killing, and our other shows know that they may lose this programming, which is available on every other major satellite and cable TV provider.”

A Dish spokesman told EW that it bumped the channels after AMC aired the spots warning viewers of the change. Dish said its current carriage agreement with the AMC nets expires at month’s end and that low ratings on IFC and WE, in particular, don’t justify the high rates the company wants to continue charging. “We have chosen not to renew our contract with the AMC Networks,” said Dish spokesman Bob Toevs. “However, we have been in talks and we do hope we can come to a different resolution.”

Dish has more than 14 million subscribers. Should the company follow through its threat to drop all the AMC nets by the end of June, fans will miss a sneak peek of The Walking Dead on July 7 along with the return of Breaking Bad on July 15. Fortunately, the finales to Mad Men and The Killing air this weekend and June 17, respectively — assuming Dish subscribers can find them on their dials.

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