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There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes at big television networks, most of which we innocent audience members needn’t worry our pretty little heads about. The only time we do see the smoke of a blazing corporate fire is during contract disputes, when master control operators have no problem streaming all kinds of warnings across our screens. The biggest culprit of these scary graphics is AMC, who last night ran a manipulative statement in the middle of The Walking Dead
To get straight to the crux of this issue, basically the carriage agreement between AMC and DirecTV expires at the end of the year. Their negotiations are going so bad -- i.e. AMC want more money -- that the network took it upon themselves to adroitly alert its viewers about a possible service interruption of Season 5 of The Walking Dead and maybe even its spinoff.
DirecTV’s agreement to carry AMC expires mid-way through the current season of ‘The Walking Dead.’ We’ve had a long, successful partnership with DirecTV and have great respect for their management team and the business they’ve built. Our goal is to continue our partnership, by renewing our agreement and extending our business relationship well into the future. Unfortunately, DirecTV has not engaged in meaningful negotiations with us, which leaves us to doubt whether a timely renewal is possible. In addition, DirecTV is in violation of our current agreement, and it has dropped AMC in Latin America. We hope to finalize a new agreement quickly but in the meantime, we think it is important to alert DirecTV customers who care about ‘The Walking Dead’ that their ability to watch the show on DirecTV is at risk.
In response to this interruption of our viewing pleasure, DirectTV countered with their own response to Deadline, claiming:
[Customers] will not miss any of this year’s new season of 'The Walking Dead' or any other shows. AMC is contractually obligated to provide all of its programming for several more months and we intend to renew our AMC partnership at a price that’s fair to our customers.
Oh what jovial fun and games, right? Still, this has got some people worrying about a repeat performance of Dish Network’s 2012 removal of AMC over a busted carriage deal with the defunct VOOM HD networks. That year AMC also battled with Suddenlink, in addition to Cable One and Rogers Media in Canada a year later, pulling that same propaganda shit during the contract negotiations.
The point is, it could still be a long, long time before the AMC-DirecTV battle becomes a serious issue. As DirecTV’s statement attests, the network still has to provide “several more months”of programming, but hey, if they’re trying to scare the folk at DirecTV, The Walking Dead is the way to do it. I don't think a threat of losing Comic Book Men will really scare anyone.