CBS, Dish Network dispute could mean no Cowboys-Chargers game for subscribers

WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) - An ongoing dispute between CBS and Dish Network could prevent subscribers in 18 major markets — including Los Angeles and Dallas — from watching the network's Thanksgiving NFL game between the Los Angeles Chargers and Dallas Cowboys.

The dispute could also potentially affect the broadcasts of Saturday's Alabama-Auburn game and CBS' NFL coverage on Sunday.

Hundreds of thousands of Dish subscribers lost access to their local CBS affiliates Tuesday morning as the satellite provider and network engaged in unsuccessful negotiations about carriage rates. 

CBS said in a statement Wednesday morning that "we obviously want to strike a fair deal" but "we remain far apart on terms."

In a statement Tuesday, Dish Network claimed that CBS chose to black out Dish customers' access to its channels in an effort to raise rates and gain negotiating leverage.

"CBS is attempting to tax Dish customers on programming that’s losing viewers, tax Dish customers on programming available for free over the air, and tax Dish customers for content available directly from CBS," Dish executive vice president Warren Schlichting said in a statement. "Our customers are clear: they don’t want to pay a CBS tax. It’s regrettable and unnecessary that CBS is bringing its greed into the homes of millions of families this Thanksgiving."

CBS fired back in its statement Wednesday, claiming that Dish Network is "desperate to retain subscribers" and "clearly, pulling content providers off the air is Dish's way of doing things."

RELATED: How to watch every NFL game on Thanksgiving

Dish said it is offering free over-the-air antennas to customers so they can watch CBS free of charge.

The dispute affects CBS affiliates in some of the largest television markets in the United States, including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Atlanta and Boston, among others. 

CBS Sports Network is also blacked out on Dish Network across the country.

The two sides also had a brief contract dispute in 2014.

"As it stands, Dish customers won't be watching CBS in the days and weeks ahead," CBS said in its statement.

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