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DirecTV's Viacom channels could go dark tonight


(CBS News) DirecTV subscribers may be out of luck tonight if they want to watch MTV or Comedy Central.

Viacom says 26 of its channels could go dark at midnight for 20 million DirecTV subscribers if the companies can't work out an agreement to replace their current deal.

DirecTV and Viacom have been at odds for months over a carriage fee dispute. Viacom's distribution agreement with DirecTV is set to expire at midnight.

Viacom explained in a blog post that despite its "best efforts, DirecTV has rejected all of our proposals to renew our agreement. This evening, DirecTV provided Viacom with a counter proposal that included a lower rate than Viacom receives from any other distributor in the industry. With this offer, our negotiations have reached an impasse."

DirecTV, meanwhile, said on its website that it has "absolutely no intention of removing your favorite Viacom networks ... but unfortunately Viacom executives sent a letter to us late last night, forcing us to take these channels down by midnight tonight if we don't come to an agreement."

"Viacom wants you to pay over 30 percent more to keep the channels you are already receiving," costing customers $1 billion, DirecTV notes.

But Viacom says its agreement with DirecTV is "seven years old - ancient by the standards of the ever-evolving media industry - which means that DirecTV has enjoyed way below market rates for Viacom's networks for a very long time."

Viacom includes Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, VH1, CMT, Spike TV, TV Land and other channels.

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