Subscribers of Dish Network’s satellite and streaming services are down one channel after the company allowed a carriage deal with Sony Pictures Television to expire this week.
The agreement previously allowed Dish Network to carry the Game Show Network on its flagship satellite service and its streaming product, Sling TV, where the channel was offered in some of its programming packages.
As is typical with carriage disputes, both sides are blaming each other. A Dish Network spokesperson said the company had a “handshake agreement” with Sony Pictures to continue carrying the channel as it worked to negotiate a new carriage deal, but that Sony did an “about-face” and forced Dish to pull the channel.
“This is a deceitful negotiation tactic aimed at our customers, putting them in the middle,” Andy LeCuyer, the senior vice president of programming at Dish Network, said in a statement.
Sony says Dish Network is the bad actor, noting the company’s willingness to drop channels from its service if it means not having to pay more money to carry them. The company noted that Dish Network has recently engaged in carriage disputes with several local and national programmers, including TEGNA, NBC Regional Sports, Sinclair Broadcast Group and AT&T.
“Dish is choosing to do this to Game Show Network, an independent network, that costs virtually nothing compared to local retransmission or sports networks,” a spokesperson for Sony Pictures Television said this week.
Game Show Network began as a 24-hour network that offered re-runs of classic game shows like “Match Game,” “The $64,000 Pyramid” and “Press Your Luck.” In recent years, the network has dropped classic game shows in favor of reboots and original programming; its current line-up includes “The $100,000 Pyramid,” “People Puzzle,” “25 Words or Less” and “America Says.”
The network primarily competes with Buzzr, a digital broadcast and streaming network owned by the British media conglomerate Fremantle that offers many of the classic game shows once aired on Game Show Network. Buzzr is available on Dish Network Channel 245 and can also be accessed through Sling TV without a subscription.
Some Game Show Network programming is distributed on the ad-supported Game Show Central, which is available on free streaming services like Pluto TV. Game Show Central includes original game shows produced by Game Show Network, including “Minute to Win It,” “Baggage” and “Friend or Foe?”