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CBS and Dish Network agree to contract extension

No Thanksgiving blackout of CBS stations on Dish; two sides extend deadline

Dish Network subscribers have another reason to give thanks: There will be no CBS station blackout over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Late Tuesday, CBS Corp. and Dish Network agreed to once again extend the deadline for their contract negotiations, guaranteeing that football fans will be able watch the Chicago Bears-Detroit Lions game on CBS on Thanksgiving.

The deal marks the second contract extension granted by CBS during the last six days. Until late last week, there were threats of a blackout of CBS stations in 14 markets, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento and Detroit.

"A short-term extension into next week has been granted while negotiations continue," CBS said Tuesday in a statement.

Dish's carriage contract for CBS-owned television stations expired Thursday. But in a sign of good faith, CBS extended the deadline to give the two companies time to sort through a thicket of issues, including a rate hike for retransmitting the signals of CBS-owned television stations and digital rights.

One issue is how Dish plans to include the broadcast network in a new low-cost Internet subscription service that Dish plans to launch in the coming months.

Tuesday's contract extension suggests the two sides are making slow but steady progress at the bargaining table.

For now, viewers won't miss episodes of "NCIS," "Person of Interest," "The Big Bang Theory," "Mom" and a beloved holiday animated classic, "Frosty the Snowman."

The satellite TV giant has nearly 500,000 subscribers in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. If the two sides don't reach a deal, Dish customers could see a disruption in the availability of the two local CBS stations -- KCBS-TV Channel 2 and KCAL-TV Channel 9.

Consumers in recent years have been growing frustrated by the increasing tensions between programmers like CBS and pay-TV companies, such as Dish and Time Warner Cable. When the two sides battle it out, viewers say they are the ones who get caught in the crossfire.

After a monthlong blackout, Dish on Friday restored service of several Turner Broadcasting channels, including CNN, Cartoon Network and Turner Classic Movies. 

Turner Broadcasting, a unit of Time Warner, and Dish agreed to extend the deadline on that lapsed contract for several months.

Twitter: @MegJamesLAT

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