Tribune Media, owner of local broadcast TV stations in top markets and cable network WGN America, and satellite-TV provider Dish Network ended a nearly three-month blackout over the weekend, just in time for TV’s all-important NFL season.
“We want to thank our viewers and customers for their patience and support as we worked through this lengthy process. We’re pleased to move forward and again be able to provide the content of Tribune’s local stations and WGN America for years to come,” Tribune Media and Dish Network said in a joint statement.
Tribune’s 42 local stations in 33 markets returned to Dish local-TV subscribers on Saturday, Sept. 3, after having been unavailable since June.
The dispute got thorny enough that Tribune started running ads in its markets urging Dish subscribers to switch pay-TV providers if they wanted to continue receiving local sports, with Dish ultimately suing Tribune over the ads.
In the end, fall football prevailed, with both the NFL and college ball getting underway and the NFL’s season opener airing on Thursday, Sept. 8, with a rematch of Super Bowl 50 between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers.
“While the specifics of the agreement are confidential, we’re pleased with its terms and believe we achieved everything we had hoped to, including broad distribution for WGN America,” Tribune Media CEO Peter Liguori told employees in a memo. “The timing is great, too, with college and NFL football about to get the regular season underway, new fall prime-time programming set to debut in a few weeks, and Salem returning for its third season on WGN America.”
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[Image courtesy of the LA Times]