Dish Network Corp., following through on a threat to remove AMC Networks Inc.’s channels, said it will replace “Mad Men,” “The Walking Dead” and other AMC programs with movies and shows from HDNet this weekend.
AMC, IFC and We TV will be switched off at 11:59 p.m. New York time tomorrow, Dish said today in a statement. Commercial-free movies from HDNet will be substituted for AMC’s flagship network. HDNet’s main channel, with shows such as “Bikini Barbershop” and “Drinking Made Easy,” will stand in for IFC, the independent film channel. The Style channel will replace We TV, a network aimed at women.
Dish, the second-largest U.S. satellite-TV provider, threatened to drop the channels in May, saying AMC was charging too much for shows with limited viewership. AMC contends that Dish is dropping its networks as a response to litigation stemming from a 2008 lawsuit that may cost the satellite company $2.5 billion.
“A significant portion of any pay-TV bill goes to fees for content providers like AMC Networks,” Dave Shull, senior vice president of programming for Englewood, Colorado-based Dish, said today in the statement. “AMC Networks requires us to carry low-rated channels like IFC and We to access a few popular AMC shows. The math is simple: It’s not a good value for our customers.”
Losing AMC would mean Dish's 14 million viewers will miss the fifth season of “Breaking Bad,” which has its season premiere on July 15. AT&T Inc.’s U-verse, a service with about 4 million video customers, also may drop AMC’s channels by 11:59 p.m. tomorrow.
AT&T said earlier this week it hadn’t reached terms on a new contract with AMC, which is asking for “nearly double” what other competitors pay for its networks.
AMC’s contractual dispute with AT&T is “separate and distinct from the situation with Dish Network,” Georgia Juvelis, an spokeswoman for New York-based AMC, said today in an e-mail.