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Ventura County Star, Calif., Jim Carlisle column
[November 22, 2012]

Ventura County Star, Calif., Jim Carlisle column

Nov 22, 2012 (Ventura County Star - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- This Thanksgiving, one thing I'm thankful for is that the whole Time Warner Cable SportsNet upheaval is just about over.

As of this moment, every Los Angeles Lakers fan in Southern California with cable, telco or satellite TV can receive SportsNet and its Spanish-language complement, Time Warner Cable Deportes.

Unless, that is, if you have Dish Network. Then you're in trouble.

Negotiations broke down this week between Time Warner and Dish over carrying the channels, and it appears to be final.

SportsNet issued a statement Tuesday saying, "Despite our best efforts and their customers' demands, Dish Network has elected not to carry Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes." Dish Network has 609,000 subscribers in the L.A. market.

It was a week ago that Time Warner had managed finally to bring DirecTV into the fold, getting the satellite TV leader to sign a multiyear agreement to carry the channels only in Southern California, Las Vegas and Hawaii. Other than Dish, the only other provider not carrying SportsNet and Deportes is Comcast, which has only a few scattered subscribers in Southern California.

But negotiations between Time Warner and Dish never went well, with Dish balking from the start at the $3.95-per-subscriber-per-month price that was being sought by Time Warner to carry the networks.

Interestingly, Dish is the only satellite provider that does carry the new Pac-12 Networks, signing on early and becoming a corporate sponsor of the Pacific-12 Conference as part of the bargain. DirecTV and several other companies, such as AT&T U-Verse and Verizon FiOS, have yet to carry the Pac-12 Networks.

I don't believe I've ever advocated getting rid of your TV provider before, but Dish looks to have pretty much washed its hands of this whole wretched business. So my advice to you, for what little it may be worth, is this: If you have Dish Network and you absolutely love the Lakers and your quality of life would be greatly diminished if you couldn't watch them on TV, then switch to something, nearly anything, else.

OPERATORS NOT STANDING BY It's been interesting, for lack of a better and still printable word, to see how many phone calls and emails have come into the sports desk asking about SportsNet and the Pac-12 Networks. At least now more of the calls we're taking have happier endings ("Yes, you can watch the Lakers...").

I've never really understood why people call their newspaper when they have a beef with their cable company in the first place. If your paper doesn't show up on your doorstep, do you call Time Warner My favorite phone story involved an elderly woman who called to find out what channel a game was on. The staffer asked her which cable company she had. She paused for a minute, apparently looked at her TV and replied: "Mitsubishi." It was nice to see recently that the people at Time Warner understood the burden they put us under. They sent a plate of cookies to us. Of course, the guy who'd written all the stories about them -- me -- wasn't here at the time, and you know how long a plate of cookies lasts in a newsroom. I'm pretty sure the plate got gobbled up too.

EYEBALLS FIND LAKERS Now that people can actually watch the Lakers, they are. Time Warner Cable SportsNet reported coach Mike D'Antoni's Tuesday night debut against Brooklyn drew a 7.1 rating with 613,000 viewers, the highest numbers this season.

Last Friday's game against Phoenix had a 6.03 rating and 519,000 viewers and was the No. 1 show watched by men that night. Sunday's game against Houston had a 5.10 rating with 473,000 viewers.

___ (c)2012 Ventura County Star (Camarillo, Calif.) Visit Ventura County Star (Camarillo, Calif.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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