Stars take sides in DirecTV, Viacom debate
July 12th, 2012
11:40 AM ET

Stars take sides in DirecTV, Viacom debate

Right before midnight on July 10, 17 Viacom-owned cable channels on DirecTV went dark for nearly 20 million of the satellite distributor's subscribers, the fallout of a dispute between the two companies when they failed to reach an agreement on programming fees.

Web wails as DirecTV channels go dark

A seven-year deal between Viacom and DirecTV ended last week, and after they failed to agree on new terms, DirecTV viewers tuned into channels like Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and BET on Wednesday only to find they’d been cut off.

The 17 cut channels include MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, VH1, Spike, CMT, TV Land and NickToons. That means an outage of shows like "Tosh.O," "Workaholics," "The Soul Man," "Awkward," "Love and Hip Hop" and "Teen Wolf."

The blackout is prompting stars to get on Twitter, and they’re asking their fans to demand that DirecTV and Viacom settle their dispute and bring back favorite programs.

Viacom yanks free online TV episodes during DirecTV dispute

As Comedy Central’s Blake Anderson tweeted, “Workaholics and DIRECTV officially have beef.”

Patrick Patterson of the Houston Rockets also vented to his 62,000 followers, “Thank you #Viacom for ruining my Direct-Tv experience.”

Khloe Kardashian, whose family reality show "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" airs on the E! network and isn't off the air due to the blackout, nonetheless was irritated by the resulting loss of access.

"I love to know I'm not the only one who is annoyed by this... So many of you guys are irritated too," Kardashian posted. "SpongeBob I will miss you!"

Daniel Tosh remained hopeful, tweeting, "lets all pray this viacom/directv beef gets squashed by next week."

And, like many annoyed parents whose young ones won't be pleased with the loss of kids' programming, comedian and actress Wanda Sykes tweeted, "Hey DirectTv, how am I going to explain to my kids that they can't watch "BubbleGuppies?" They don't know Viacom."

The battle between these two media companies once again calls attention to the business strategies of television distributors and programmers, and the ambiguous questions of carrier fees, bundling of channels and online streaming in a changing media landscape. The lack of solution and resulting DirecTV blackout may seem a bit apocalyptic to the celebs whose shows have gone dark, as well as their loyal fans.

How has the blackout affected you? Sound off below.

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Filed under: Celebrities • television

soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Mike

    How's it affected me? Let's see... My kids have discovered that there are plenty of other channels with good (frequently BETTER shows). I enjoy Comedy Central, but there's nothing I can't live without. The rest of the channels? I don't care if they never come back. I never watched that junk anyway. Viacom needs to be thinking about how this is gonna hit their ratings long-term. The longer they're blacked out, the more viewers just won't go back afterwards.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jody

    I think this whole thing between Viacom and DirecTV is crap. They both want more money and each company is trying to make the other look bad...gee they must be watching the politicans at play. If anyone thinks that either of these companies are trying to do what is best for their customers, has to pull their head out of the sand, they are looking at their bottom dollar and what is best for their individual company. The fact that DirecTV is offering "free" channels, instead of giving dollar credits to their customers just proves it. The channels they are offering like the Encore channels is not showing any good movies and I believe they may be offering a couple of baseball channels, I don't watch sports, so I have no desire to watch these channels. DirecTV, just give me some money back, or get it fixed with Viacom and give us our channels back.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • RJ

      actually, Directv lost its channels temporarily because they refused to increase the prices on their customers. Directv wanted to ensure they would get the channels back to the customers, but also did not want to do so by increasing the bill on the customers due to viacoms greedy demands of pricing.

      November 4, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. kip caven

    im sitting here disabled and the highlight of my days and nights are watching tv then these greedy mother*******ers from viacom jump in and take away my favorite channels. dont you people have enough money??? come on over and try sitting in my chair for a day and see how you like it.

    July 17, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lori Hicke

    I really don't care what the beef is between Viacom and Directv. All I know is I have a contract with Directv and I pay my bill. Directv needs to fulfill my contract with me and get my channels back! Maybe I should stop paying my bill!

    July 17, 2012 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  5. Melpace

    Nothing but GREED! The FTC needs to step in and do something about this or maybe the FCC? This is a big rip off in my book!

    July 16, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Nothingness

    Gotta admit... I'm still surprised about how many people seem to be oblivious to the meanings of the terms "contract" (which DirecTV *doesn't* use with their customers) and "commitment" (which is what DirecTV calls their agreement). In a contract, both parties are required to uphold their side. In a commitment, only one – the customer – is required to. So, the way I see it, if you're going to be an idiot and "jump ship" only because you can't see the big picture when it's beating you in the face, then you deserve to have to pay a cancellation fee. Seriously, people... Chill out, find something else to watch, or do something *AWAY FROM THE TV FOR ONCE.* This will sort itself out once Viacom sees how much money they're now losing because they're not making good on the ad spots they sold.

    July 14, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeanne

      I totally agree with Directv cancelling the contract. If not for them, we would all be paying 30% more for channels that most of us do not even watch. Congratulations to Directv for looking out for their customers.

      July 15, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  7. mrs jackson

    Are you serious, changing is not the answer. Seems like many of you people dont even know what is going on with this chanels and negotiation with Viacom. Simply that directv DOES NOT want to rais your monthly bill we are not accepting that agreement. They do want to higher it a 30%, wich i would think would make us even more angry. What do you want best to have thoose channels of for a week or two or each time the contract expieres have them channels remane on our screens and prices go up 30% then 50% and so on. Probably when you call directv you should actually listen to what the representatives inform you.

    July 14, 2012 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  8. Lisa

    I got rid of cable 4 years ago. Best decision I ever made because I no longer waste hours watching useless crap. Although, if I do like something, I rent, buy, or stream it, so if I actually watched anything on any of those channels, I'd be more ticked at Viacom pulling the streaming

    July 13, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  9. jb2817

    THEY DROPPED BET!!!!!!!!
    When will the Messiah, The Chosen One
    He who's name we should not speak
    hold a press conference saying that Direct TV acted stupidly and if he had a son he would look like the CEO of bet?

    July 13, 2012 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
  10. vitamina

    buenas acabo de enterarme de tu blog y la verdad es que me parece genial no sabia de mas personas interesadas en estos temas, aqui tienes un nuevo lector que seguira visitandote quincenalmente.

    July 13, 2012 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
  11. paula smith

    I feel they broke there contract and that should free us to leave. They said they would hit me with early termination fees. Also they will not give back any money we have lost due to the blackout As soon as my contract is up im out and i hope many follow this is bologna

    July 12, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • john doe

      lady you are hilarious....I work for dtv as a call center agent let me help you do the math here...you take the price of your base package right and divide that by 30 (which is how many days in the month depending on that month)...then you take that number and divide it by how many channels there are in your base package (i hope you havent lost me) last but not least u multiply that number by how many channels you lost......now for a majority of people that would be around $.30 a day which would be $9.00 a month and we are approaching the first week of blackout i would love to credit back the outstanding amount of $2.10.....i mean dang lady all you gotta do is call in dtv is offering more than the cost of all those channels per month if you are looking for compensation.....you are acting like your paying $5.00 or more per channel.....i mean i know is frustrating and all not to have what you pay for but lets be real here dtv is not going to pay you to watch tv and then you go to another company get locked in in another contract what are you going to do when viacom comes form them cry about compensation again and end up coming back to dtv....I love customers like you

      July 16, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  12. Erica Roach

    This is crap that they took these channels away. My daughter watched spongebob all the time and she is really upset now. Also MTV, vh1 were also channels that were watched n my family. If Directv do not bring these channels back then I will switch carriers.

    July 12, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Optimus Prime

    It is in times of peril,that I,Optimus Prime,suggest we all chill out and go out and buy Transformers 3 on Blu-Ray

    July 12, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Pam

    They are both good examples of what is soooo wrong in this country right now.....CORPORATE GREED!!!

    July 12, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fat

      CORPORATE GREED? How about turning off the TV and getting some exercise?

      July 12, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. michelle kinney

    I believe the 2 companies are trying to use the mike and Ike pr stunt.

    July 12, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Spencer Karter

    I was stunned and I've missed Degrassi reruns with Miriam McDonald and Drake in it on TeenNick.

    July 12, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Suzyq0204

    FYI -WWE champ Patrick Patterson is a former champion from the 1970's...
    I am so glad I dropped DirectTV and went to Optimum...

    July 12, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Leigh

    I have Comcast and they suck too. All of it is over priced and I'm so tired of having to deal with the new boxes that you have to have.

    July 12, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Sokman

    There used to be a Pat Patterson in WWE. Don't know if he was ever WWE Champ though. Longstanding rumor is he & Brooklyn Brawler were longtime lovers

    July 12, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Sokman

    Sure, switch to Dish & go through the same thing with all of the Fox channels every couple of years.

    July 12, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Paul

    The current WWE Champ is CM Punk...aka Phillip Brooks...who is patrick patterson?

    July 12, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Pamela

    As a customer, I say thank you to DirecTV for finally taking a stand instead of just passing this cost along to your customers. I have one of the lowest tiered packages, only about 90 channels, and there is still nothing that I want to watch on TV. To continue to pay for trash reality programming, rebroadcast of network shows, repeat airings of the same shows over and over, well I'm close to taking the step to live without TV at all.

    Hold your ground, DirecTV, because if a new deal results in a rate incrrease, you'll lose me and probably a few more of your customers. After all, Spongebob and Colbert don't put food on the table at my house.

    July 12, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Dave Melwig

    Viacom is asking for a huge increase to their contract. All-the-while reporting that 40% of their programming on Nickelodeon is Spongebob and 30+% of their programming on MTV is Jersey Shore. If all you're going to do is give us reruns and stupid reality shows, then we're better off without you.
    Comedy Central is becoming nothing but Tosh sprinkled with Colbert and Stewart. Tosh I could do without. How about getting the right to run the hundreds of awesome comedy movies sitting on the shelf that no one ever gets to see instead of rerunning the same 12 each month?
    I'm siding with DirecTV, because at least they have their clients interest in mind.

    July 12, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Seriously

    I am with Wanda. I am contracted in to DirectTV for another year. Can I opt out now that Diego, Umizoomi, and Bubble Guppies are blacked out? Booooooooooooooooo Viacom and DirectTV. Shame on you.

    July 12, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  25. alt-tab

    I honestly hope stuff like this happens as much as possible so the industry can collapse and we can hit the reset buttons on the @$$hats now occupying the public eye.

    July 12, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  26. ah...

    And Khloe Kardishian says " Spongebob I will miss you". Kind of says a lot, huh? lmao.

    July 12, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Sokman

    Who's Patrick Patterson?

    July 12, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  28. ldean50

    I won't give up my Jon Stewart and Colbert report. Easy fix. Switch to Dish.

    July 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deeboe

      Switch to Dish now. Pay the increase that Viacom is demanding from them soon...

      July 12, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erik

      ha dish is terrible. Plus no IFC, Amc and fix channels every other year. If you have an HD tv, be insane to go to Dish. You'll be back to directv when dish goes belly up in year or two. Oh and between these 20 channels, are there like 20 shows? Those channels are a joke. Btw, Directv is giving free channels and asking people to call in and tell them how they can satisfy ea customer.

      July 12, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Jolie

    Ok, so a wookie and a lesbian walk into a bar...

    July 12, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  30. murpis

    The fact that Viacom just yanked the shows I watch online for free shows us who the jerk-wads really are in this dispute. They are punishing the customers, not direct tv. Viacom- greed is one of the 7 deadly sins. I'd be careful if I were you.

    July 12, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Richard Fore

    Those woookies is getting scarier and scarier.

    July 12, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  32. Richard Fore

    Eeeeeeew them is 2 scary looking gorillaz.

    July 12, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |

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