CBS and Dish Network have been negotiating for a new carriage contract and, after several extensions, it appears like several CBS stations will go off-the-air Thursday evening. The lack of a contract affects only 29 stations that are owned or operated by CBS. The stations are in major markets, such as Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, and New York. The law says that television providers, like DIRECTV, must negotiate with those who own/operate the stations, in this case CBS.
CBS said in a statement that their broadcast would be pulled at 7 P.M. ET Thursday. This is an hour before the Thursday night block which is one of the most important for the broadcast networks. CBS is the top rated network in America and is trying to use its fan base to pressure Dish Network into making a deal.
Both CBS and Dish Network have had a history with carriage disputes. Dish Network recently had a dispute with Turner Broadcasting, which led to all of its channels, except for TBS and TNT, being pulled. That dispute ended after Dish and Turner signed a short-term deal that expires in early 2015.
Last year, CBS and Time Warner Cable were involved in a month-long contract dispute that saw Time Warner Cable lose three percent of its subscribers. In that case, the beginning of the NFL season was seen as an important event and near-deadline for the two companies to work out their differences. This time, the NFL season has already began.