Aug. 8, 2012 at 8:08 PM ET
Sounds like Dish subscribers who love "Mad Men," "Breaking Bad," "Walking Dead" and AMC's other shows can forget about getting those programs back any time soon.
During a conference call with analysts Wednesday, Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen slammed the AMC shows. "They're critically acclaimed but not viewed as much by our audience," he said. "And our customers can go to iTunes and get 'Mad Men' the same time it's on. We could pay the entire iTunes bill and it would be cheaper" than having Dish pay what AMC Networks wants for a new contract.
The upside of this decision? Ergen said that it would make Dish "several dollars cheaper than" other cable providers who do carry AMC Networks.
Dish dropped AMC Networks -- which includes AMC, IFC and WE -- on July 1, saying it wasn't a good value for subscribers. In their place, Dish subbed in HDNet Movies, Style and HDNet.
"AMC as a standalone could make more sense but that's not anything that's been offered to us," Ergen said during the call.
In an earlier statement to TODAY.com, AMC Networks noted that Dish's move had nothing to do with fees. "It is unfortunate that in retaliation for an unrelated lawsuit DISH is choosing to punish its customers by dropping" AMC channels, AMC Networks had said.
AMC's parent company, Cablevision, filed a $2.5 billion suit against Dish Network for breach of contract a few years ago.
A source with close ties to the situation told us Wednesday that contrary to Dish's indications that programming fees are an issue, there still have been no discussions between the two parties about AMC Networks' fees.
Subscribers are also still making their frustrations heard on Dish's Facebook page. In a Tuesday status update asking subscribers whether they were looking for something to watch, a number of comments brought up the AMC dispute, with "Bring back AMC" cropping up several times.
Dish subscribers, how are you keeping up with your favorite AMC shows? Tell us on our Facebook page.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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