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Dish Network Drops Weather Channel, Starts Service

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May 20 (Bloomberg) -- Dish Network Corp., the No. 2 U.S. satellite-TV provider, dropped NBC Universal’s Weather Channel and started its own service focused on weather coverage.

The network will run 24 hours a day and feature reporting and interactive forecasts, Englewood, Colorado-based Dish Network said today in a statement.

Dish said it started its own channel because the Weather Channel has been adding movies and other entertainment programming, while moving away from weather reporting. General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal bought the Weather Channel in 2008 for $3.5 billion with Bain Capital LLC and Blackstone Group LP, and reduced the value of its stake in the third quarter of 2009.

“Our customers always tell us that the only thing they want in a weather channel is weather reporting,” Dave Shull, Dish’s senior vice president for programming, said in the statement.

Atlanta-based Weather Channel said discussions with Dish broke off because of price.

“Dish has chosen to be the first distributor to drop the Weather Channel rather than pay the standard industry rates others in the industry have already agreed to pay,” the Weather Channel said in a statement. “We are disappointed with their decision and hopeful that we can still reach an agreement.”

GE, based in Fairfield, Connecticut, lost $1 to $16.26 on the New York Stock Exchange. Dish fell $1.34 to $20.81 today in Nasdaq Stock Market trading.

Comcast Corp., the Philadelphia-based cable operator buying control of NBC Universal from GE, declined 79 cents to $16.79.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rob Golum in Los Angeles at rgolum@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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