DirecTV, WGN-TV owner Nexstar reach agreement, restoring service

Impasse lasted 77 days

[Editor’s Note: This article was originally published a day earlier. It has been slightly re-written to reflect updated news.]

In news that broke overnight Sunday (and I do mean literally), the signal for Nexstar stations returned this morning to DirecTV, DirecTV Stream, and U-Verse after 77 days under an interim agreement, leading to a more concrete solution, announced Monday. The agreement restores Nexstar’s various network affiliates to the service. 

In Chicago, this means WGN-TV is back on DirecTV and U-Verse and so is Champaign’s WCIA, as is cable news network NewsNation. The news was first reported on on X (formerly known as Twitter) at approximately 3:12 a.m. Central Sunday morning: 

“In recognition and appreciation of the continued patience of DirecTV customers and Nexstar viewers, the companies have agreed to temporarily return the signals of the Nexstar-owned stations and national cable news network NewsNation to DirecTV, DirecTV STREAM and U-verse while we both work to complete the terms of an agreement,” said DirecTV in a statement.  

Nexstar removed their signals on July 2 in a dispute seeking higher retransmission payments from DirecTV, doing so right in the middle of a NASCAR race from Chicago on the company’s NBC affiliates. The impasse continued through the first week of the NFL season and the first three weeks of college football season. For example, DirecTV viewers in Indianapolis weren’t able to watch any of week one’s NFL action  – including the Colts – as Nexstar owns the CBS affiliate (WTTV) and Fox affiliate (WXIN). Nexstar stations were also missing on DirecTV’s business subscriptions, serving bars, restaurants, hotels, and other establishments. 

This comes after Charter/Spectrum and Disney came to an agreement six days ago after a similar impasse knocked ESPN off their systems and ABC for those whose affiliate is owned by the network. Nexstar’s name did come up last week in speculation on who would buy ABC and the rest of Disney’s non-sports cable network portfolio and one could wonder if ending its impasse with DirecTV is the first step toward that. 

Despite the interim agreement, the legal issues between both parties have not been resolved, as DirecTV is suing Nexstar affiliates Mission Broadcasting and White Knight Broadcasting claiming they’re shell companies just to get around the FCC’s ownership rules as Nexstar controls the day-to-day operations of each. But the end of impasse could lead to some movement regarding those lawsuits as well. 

Disclaimer: The person who wrote this article is a DirecTV subscriber. 


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