Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel have been yanked off AT&T U-verse, now that there's no resolution in sight in the retrans standoff between AT&T and Crown Media.
Crown Media and AT&T put out dueling statements this evening, as carriage deals expired at 12:01 a.m. ET early Wednesday morning.
Here's AT&T's statement:
“We are very disappointed that Hallmark has refused to provide AT&T and its customers with a fair deal — one that is no worse than similarly-sized and smaller providers — and refused to adhere to key obligations under our current deal. We offered to extend the current deal while talks continued, and Hallmark rejected that offer. Hallmark has forced us into a position where we no longer have the rights to carry the Hallmark channels as of 12:01 EDT. We don’t want customers to lose their programming, but we believe strongly that our customers should not have to pay more than their fair share for Hallmark’s channels, which is exactly what Hallmark is demanding.”
AT&T said it had replaced Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel with Starz Kids & Family, as well as Turner Classic Movies.
Meanwhile, here's the statement from Crown Media:
Bill Abbott, President and CEO, Hallmark Channels, said, “When Hallmark Channels announced that we were likely to be dropped from AT&T U-verse’s national channel lineup, I was moved by the immediate support from our loyal viewers. Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel represent the 100-year legacy of quality and trust of the Hallmark brand. We are the nation’s family networks, and we will continue to produce quality programs that connect people emotionally.”
Hallmark added that it was "willing to re-start negotiations toward the distribution agreement as long as they are fair and in good faith."
Over at the other retrans battle currently in the news, things are much more upbeat. A deal between Disney and Time Warner Cable is imminent.