Dish Ditches 'Mad Men' for 'Bikini Barbershop' in AMC Feud

Network Reaches Last-Minute Deal to Keep Programs on AT&T U-Verse

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Dish Network Corp., following through on a threat to remove AMC Networks Inc.'s channels, replaced "Mad Men," "The Walking Dead" and other AMC programs with movies and shows from HDNet.

AMC, IFC and We TV were dropped from Dish, the second-largest U.S. satellite-TV provider, New York-based AMC Networks said today in a statement.

Dish said last week it would replace AMC with commercial-free movies from HDNet. HDNet's main channel, with shows such as "Bikini Barbershop" and "Drinking Made Easy," will stand in for IFC, the independent film channel. The Style channel will replace We TV, a network aimed at women.

Dish threatened to drop the channels in May, saying AMC was charging too much for shows with limited viewership. AMC contends that Dish is cutting off its networks as a response to litigation stemming from a 2008 lawsuit that may cost the satellite company $2.5 billion.

"Dish has not discussed rates with us at all," AMC said in today's statement. Dish customers have lost some of their favorite shows because of an unrelated lawsuit which has nothing at all to do with our programming.''

Losing AMC would mean Dish's 14 million viewers will miss the fifth season of "Breaking Bad," which has its season premiere on July 15.

AMC is "not a good value for our customers," Dave Shull, senior vice president of programming for Englewood, Colorado- based Dish, said last week. "AMC Networks requires us to carry low-rated channels like IFC and We to access a few popular AMC shows."

Meanwhile, AMC Networks reached a deal to keep its shows on AT&T U-verse pay-TV system.

The agreement allows about 4 million U-verse customers to continue watching the AMC, IFC, We TV and Sundance channels, AT&T said today in a statement. Financial terms weren't disclosed. AMC had been seeking "an excessive rate increase," nearly double what other competitors pay for the suite of networks, AT&T said before the announcement. The accord comes in time for U-verse customers to watch the season premiere of "Breaking Bad" on July 15, one of AMC's highest-rated shows.

"We respect AT&T as a partner that has a genuine interest in working with us to ensure their customers continue to enjoy our programming," AMC said today in a statement.

~~~Bloomberg News~~~

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