Dish Restores CNN, Cartoon Network in Contract Extension

Dish Network Corp. reached an agreement to restore Turner Broadcasting channels including CNN and Cartoon Network to its satellite-TV service for several months while the two sides work toward a longer-term deal.

The extension with the Time Warner Inc. unit also reinstates Adult Swim, TruTV, TCM, Boomerang and CNN en Espanol to Dish’s service, the companies said in a statement today. It ensures Dish’s 14 million customers won’t lose TNT and TBS when a separate deal for those channels expires on Dec. 5.

The extension means Dish’s rights to all Turner programming will expire at once, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be named. Under the old deals, Englewood, Colorado-based Dish dropped some channels while keeping TNT and TBS, the most-watched Turner outlets. Some stations had been dark since Oct. 21, after an agreement expired.

Bob Toevs, a Dish spokesman, declined to comment.

Putting all of Turner’s networks on the same track means Dish may risk losing all of that programming if another blackout occurs. TNT and TBS will air several popular sporting events in the first half of next year, including the NCAA Tournament, NBA All-Star Weekend and NBA Playoffs.

Both sides have traded harsh words in the dispute.

Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen had said Turner was asking for double-digit percentage increases in fees for CNN, while viewership had fallen by half. He threatened to permanently drop Turner’s cable networks, and said CNN is “not quite the product that they used to be.”

‘Very Antagonistic’

On Time Warner’s earnings call, John Martin, Turner’s chief executive officer, said Ergen’s comments about the contract dispute were “very antagonistic and aggressive.’

Today’s contract extensions don’t give Dish rights to Turner channels for its forthcoming Internet-delivered television package, said the person. Turner and Dish are still negotiating those terms, and expect an agreement will be part of the next long-term deal.

Dish rose 2 percent to $73.64 at the close in New York, while New York-based Time Warner fell 0.7 percent to $80.05.

Late yesterday, Dish agreed to a five-day extension of its expiring contract with CBS Corp. Negotiations between the two are continuing, they said.

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