Because of a contract dispute between DirecTV and Tribune Broadcasting Co., DirecTV subscribers in Los Angeles have had no access to channel KTLA since Sunday.
Because KTLA is an affiliate of CW Television, Los Angeles DirecTV subscribers will also be missing out on CW shows like "Gossip Girl," "Nikita" and the series finale of "One Tree Hill."
Tribune Broadcasting-owned channels were also blacked out in 18 other markets, including New York, Chicago, Denver and Washington D.C.
While the two companies have been renegotiating a new contract for months, they could not settle on terms before the expiration of their previous contract on Mar. 31, 2012.
At the heart of the matter is Tribune Co.'s request to be compensated by DirecTV for carrying local signals. While DirecTV has agreed to compensate Tribune Co., the two can't agree on a price.
The "sticking point," reports the Los Angeles Times, is Tribune-owned national cable channel WGN America, which carries Chicago Cubs, White Sox baseball and Chicago Bulls basketball.
The Los Angeles Times is owned by Tribune Co.
KTLA morning news made light of the situation today by showing viewers how to get around the DirecTV blackout -- by setting up an antenna. The news site also has a big banner pointing online readers to a petition saying, "I WANT MY KTLA BACK!"
DirecTV, meanwhile, is fighting back. In statements to the Associated Press Saturday, the company accused Tribune Co. of "bad faith" actions and speculated that Tribune Co.'s impending bankruptcy might be one reason behind the failed negotiations. From the AP:
"Their actions are the true definition of 'bad faith' in every sense of the term," DirecTV said.
The satellite TV provider also wondered whether Tribune was having difficulty negotiating because of its bankruptcy process.
"Threatening station blackouts to extract an exorbitant fee for all of Tribune's content may provide an improved return for certain banks and hedge funds, but is not in the interest of its viewers and is not a cure for bankruptcy," DirectTV said.
DirecTV has about 32 million subscribers in the United States and Latin America.
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