• Dish Network and Nexstar Media Group are currently struggling to sign a new contract, which could result in more than 160 local channels being removed from the service.
  • The two parties are blaming each other, with Dish saying Nexstar is “using millions of Americans as pawns” and Nexstar saying Dish “has a history of repeatedly forcing stations off of their system.”
  • If Dish and Nexstar can’t make a deal, Dish will lose dozens of local channels on December 2nd.

One of the most frustrating issues that comes with subscribing to live TV services is the fact any of the channels you pay for might suddenly vanish due to contract disputes and expirations. For example, late Monday night, Google sent YouTube TV subscribers an email informing them that the Tennis Channel was hours from being removed, along with any content that had been recorded on the service’s cloud DVR. There was no mention of negotiations or a solution for customers who might be disappointed by this development. The channel was just gone.

That’s a somewhat extreme example of a practice that has become par for the course recently, and it also serves as an appetizer to what could be one of the most substantial blackouts that any TV provider has ever faced. As reported by USA Today, Dish Network and Nexstar Media Group have reached an impasse that could result in over 160 local channels in 120 markets disappearing from the service on Wednesday, December 2nd.


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Here’s what Dish Network had to say about the approaching blackout in a press release this week:

Nexstar Media Group, the largest local broadcast station owner in the nation, is threatening to black out DISH customers’ access to 164 local channels in 120 markets across 42 states and the District of Columbia. The broadcast giant is trying to use its market power to demand unreasonable rate increases while intentionally using millions of Americans as pawns in their negotiations. This action by Nexstar would result in consumers being blacked out from the highest number of local broadcast stations in the nation’s TV history.

The contract that Dish refers to in its press release expires on December 2nd, and although Dish paints the media group as the villain, Nexstar shared the following comment with USA Today in regards to the blackout:

We felt it was important to start advising our viewers who are Dish subscribers of the potential for an interruption in service, since Dish has a history of repeatedly forcing stations off of their system.

Dish customers in more than 40 states stand to lose access to network affiliates such as ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC if the two parties cannot reach an agreement by Wednesday. The more that Dish has to pay for the rights to broadcast these channels, the more it has to charge subscribers to make a profit. As Dish notes on its website, “there were over 200 channel blackouts across the pay-TV industry” in 2019 alone, so unless you have cut the cord from live TV altogether, expect to continue to have to deal with these issues in the years to come.

Jacob started covering video games and technology in college as a hobby, but it quickly became clear to him that this was what he wanted to do for a living. He currently resides in New York writing for BGR. His previously published work can be found on TechHive, VentureBeat and Game Rant.