Dish Network and Sinclair Broadcast Group announced an agreement Sunday extending their contract, enabling the satellite TV provider to broadcast Sinclair's local channels and averting a possible blackout.
Dish announced the eleventh-hour agreement on a short-term extension. The contract was set to expire at midnight Eastern time Saturday. The agreement saved millions of customers from losing access to 153 local channels in 79 markets across the country, Dish said.
The extension allows Dish Network Corp. and Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. to continue negotiating a new retransmission agreement. Hunt Valley, Maryland-based Sinclair is one of the largest TV broadcasting companies in the U.S., owning local stations affiliated with all the major networks.
Englewood, Colorado-based Dish, which has nearly 14 million subscribers, didn't specify the term of the extension. Representatives of Sinclair could not be reached for comment Sunday.
"We appreciate that we have mutually created time to try to find the right path to serve consumers," Warren Schlichting, Dish's senior vice president of programming, said in a statement.
Dish also is asking the Federal Communications Commission to hold off acting on the complaint that Dish filed Saturday against Sinclair, accusing the broadcasting company of failing to negotiate in good faith on the contract. Dish said Sinclair had refused to negotiate on retransmission for Sinclair's stations unless Dish also agreed to allow Sinclair to negotiate for 32 stations not owned by Sinclair that are in the same markets as Sinclair stations.