From our friends at SkyReport.com
Both sides of the programming carriage skirmish between EchoStar and Viacom apparently are still talking about a deal. But documents - recently sent to the California federal court considering EchoStar's request for a restraining order to prevent Viacom from taking away its content - revealed some of negotiation's background.
According to a statement filed with the court from Michael Schwimmer, EchoStar's vice president of programming, the satellite TV company wanted to negotiate carriage of Viacom's broadcast stations and cable programming separately. EchoStar did not want to talk about carriage of a new programming service - Nicktoons - a network Viacom apparently wanted to place on DISH Network, the filing said.
Also, Viacom reportedly wanted a three-year extension of the current term for three networks - TVLand, CMT and Spike TV - from the current end date in 2005, the filing said.
The statement from Schwimmer said Viacom used its exclusive broadcast rights to the upcoming Super Bowl to pressure EchoStar to acquiesce to its demands. "EchoStar's inability to provide its subscribers with the Super Bowl would exacerbate even further the grave injury that EchoStar would sustain by not being able to carry CBS's stations at any other time of the year," the statement said.
On Monday, EchoStar CEO Charlie Ergen sounded upbeat on the talks. The extended deadline for negotiations expires tonight.