The temporary agreement was reached very early Sunday morning, with DirecTV restoring more than 160 local ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and CW Network affiliates owned by Nexstar to its services.
“In recognition and appreciation of the continued patience of DirecTV customers and Nexstar viewers, the companies have agreed to temporarily return the signals of the Nexstar-owned stations and national cable news network NewsNation to DirecTV, DirecTV STREAM and U-verse while we both work to complete the terms of an agreement,” a spokesperson for DirecTV said in a statement emailed to The Desk early Sunday morning.
A person familiar with the matter said both sides are still working out the terms of a full, more-permanent agreement, and that reporters should expect to hear more about a finalized deal “soon.”
DirecTV is working to restore access to local broadcast affiliates in time for Sunday football games. Morning and afternoon games are broadcast on CBS and Fox stations, while Sunday Night Football is exclusive to NBC.
DirecTV was forced to pull more than 160 local stations owned by Nexstar in July after a contractual agreement that allowed DirecTV to distribute those channels to subscribers expired.
At the time, DirecTV accused Nexstar of seeking higher fees for the same set of broadcast channels as well as the cable news network NewsNation. Nexstar did not dispute it was seeking more money, but said it felt the fees reflected the fair market value of its channels.
The channels have been blacked out ever since, affecting both residential and business customers of DirecTV’s satellite and streaming services. The issue meant millions of DirecTV customers have been without local, prime-time and national sports programming aired on network affiliates owned by Nexstar, as have thousands of bars, restaurants, hotels and other businesses that subscribe to DirecTV’s enterprise solution, DirecTV for Business.
Prior to the carriage dispute, DirecTV filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Nexstar, accusing the broadcaster of illegal collusion through its operational control of stations licensed to Mission Broadcasting and White Knight Broadcasting. Nexstar operates those third-party stations under shared services agreements, which are permissible under federal regulations.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the apparently-forthcoming end of the programming dispute between Nexstar and DirecTV would also lead to a resolution of the antitrust matter in court. As of Friday evening, the legal matter was still pending.