Politics & Government

AMC Networks, ‘Walking Dead’ remain on air after contract dispute settled

Customers of Tacoma’s Click Cable TV can continue to watch AMC Networks and associated channels after the cable network agreed to a new contract.

Click officials said last week that AMC Networks had planned to more than double what it charges the National Cable TV Cooperative, which negotiates program rates on behalf of small cable companies like Click.

Click sent a notice to customers Thursday about the possible blackout, saying AMC, IFC and WEtv would go dark later in the day because of the contract dispute. The two sides later extended a negotiating deadline, keeping the channels on the air. They announced a settlement of the contract dispute on Monday.

Tacoma Public Utilities spokeswoman Chris Gleason said Monday that she did not know what the terms of the new contract are.

Negotiations between the NCTC and AMC began in September, according to the American Cable Association. Click General Manager Tenzin Gyaltsen is among 228 ACA members who signed a letter to the Federal Communications Commission in mid-December to complain about AMC’s tactics. In the letter, ACA members say AMC forces cable operators to buy channels they do not want and forces NCTC members to pay twice what larger cable operators must pay.

Alaska’s largest cable provider, General Communications Inc., opted not to renew its contract with AMC networks amid “massive fee increases.” Rate increases are typically passed on to customers, resulting in higher cable bills over time.

AMC Networks produces popular TV show “The Walking Dead,” dramatizing how humans react in the months and years after a zombie infestation. New episodes of the show will air in February.

Kate Martin: 253-597-8542, @KateReports