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TMCNet:  DirecTV subscribers could lose WGRZ this weekend

[November 29, 2012]

DirecTV subscribers could lose WGRZ this weekend

Nov 29, 2012 (The Buffalo News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A deal between WGRZ-TV and DirecTV is set to expire early this weekend, and local DirecTV subscribers will lose access to programming from the local NBC affiliate if the station's owner, Gannett Co., and the satellite TV provider can't work out a new agreement in time.

WGRZ has a statement on its website warning DirecTV subscribers they will lose access to "Sunday Night Football," "Saturday Night Live" and other popular NBC programs, as well as Channel 2 News and other local offerings, if a new deal isn't reached by tomorrow.

The deal between the station owner and DirecTV expires at 3 a.m. Saturday, and WGRZ blames the satellite TV provider for the failure to negotiate a new rights agreement.

"Over the past weeks, we have been in intense negotiations with DirecTV to reach a fair, market-based deal. Gannett has never had service disruption with a major carrier. However, with the Nov. 30 deadline approaching, we have a responsibility to inform our viewers of the possibility of a signal disruption, which is why we have begun running crawls and PSAs on our stations. We will continue to work with DirecTV right up to the deadline," Jim Toellner, WGRZ's president and general manager, said in a statement this afternoon.

The station said on its website that Gannett is seeking terms similar to those included in the deal reached last month with DISH Network.

DirecTV is negotiating a new rights agreement with Gannett, which owns 14 NBC affiliates and six CBS affiliates across the country, including Atlanta, Denver and Washington, D.C., DirecTV spokesman Robert Mercer said in an interview.

"We're in productive negotiations with Gannett. And we have no intention of removing any of their local stations from our programming lineup, since only Gannett can do that," Mercer said.

email: swatson@buffnews.com ___ (c)2012 The Buffalo News (Buffalo, N.Y.) Visit The Buffalo News (Buffalo, N.Y.) at www.buffalonews.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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