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Dish, Fox News reach new deal, ending weeks-long blackout

A new deal returns a pair of Fox News channels to the satellite TV provider's customers after a three-week absence.

Dish Network customers got back access to Fox News channels with new carriage contract. Dish Network

A pair of Fox News channels returned to Dish Network after a three-week blackout Thursday with the announcement of a new multi-year carriage agreement.

The Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, owned by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox, were pulled from Dish's channel lineup in late December after negotiations for a new distribution deal broke down. Dish said the channels were blocked after Fox introduced fee increases for other sports and information channels not part of the original contract, while Fox countered that Dish was trying to intimidate and censor it.

Terms of the agreement weren't disclosed. But sources familiar with the deal told the Wall Street Journal that Dish had agreed to increase the average fee it pays Fox from $1 per subscriber per month to $1.50. Dish declined to comment on the report.

"We thank the viewers of Fox News and Fox Business and Dish customers for their patience throughout this process," Tim Carry, Fox News and Fox Business executive vice president of distribution, and Warren Schlichting, Dish's senior vice president of programming, said in a joint statement.

Programming blackouts have become a frequent occurrence of late in disputes between programming providers and subscription services. The Weather Channel returned to DirecTV's lineup in April after a three-month absence when the two settled their dispute over carriage fees.

The deal ends the third programming blackout Dish's 14 million subscribers have endured in as many months. Dish customers lost access to CNN, Turner Classic Movies, and a handful of other channels in October as the result of a contract dispute with Turner Broadcasting. The channels were restored a month later after the two agreed on an extension during ongoing negotiations.

Another contract dispute led to a brief blackout of local and network CBS programming in several markets across the country last month. The channels returned after a 12-hour absence when CBS (the parent company of CBS Interactive, publisher of CNET) agreed to a multiyear carriage contract that gave Dish video-on-demand rights to content from Showtime.