Fans who tuned into a special livestream of last weekend's premere of The Walking Dead because Dish Network had stopped carrying AMC and its sister networks on their service can rejoice: the entertainment giants have resolved their long legal battle just in time for tonight's episode to air on Dish.
Ultimately it came down to settling the initial lawsuit, unrelated to exhibiting fees or any current contracts, that AMC had filed against Dish. According to a joint statement, Dish has agreed to pay AMC and Cablevision $700 million, and entered into a new, multi-year agreement to air the channels comprising AMC Networks: AMC, IFC, the Sundance Channel, and WE tv.
When Dish cut off the AMC channels, part of their claim was that IFC, Sundance and WE tv weren't particularly attractive. Dish claimed that their main issue revolved around the cost of exhibiting all of the channels essentially in order to gain access to AMC, but AMC steadfastly maintained that those issues had never been brought up prior to the unrelated lawsuit being filed against Dish.
It's hard to imagine that The Walking Dead isn't a key part of the AMC victory; not only has the success of the show given AMC an almost unprecedented platform from which to air their grievances, but the fact that it was the #1 show on Dish Network last year, and that this year their premiere actually outdrew its season two counterpart in the ratings, certainly has to have put Dish in a bad position as they try to insist that they're merely trying to provide better service to their customers. Meanwhile, AMC launched an unprecedented and at times hilarious campaign to persuade customers to switch away from Dish, including TV, print and outdoor advertising.
It also featured a fair amount of zombie performance art, with protestors dressed as zombies appearing in New York City and elsewhere to protest their inability to see The Walking Dead on Dish.