Satellite broadcaster Dish Network dropped the cable channel AMC from its service as a feud between the programmer and distributor showed no signs of being resolved.
The dispute means that AMC has lost access to about 14 million homes just weeks before one of its most high-profile original shows, the drama "Breaking Bad," is set to return. Dish has also dropped other channels owned by AMC parent AMC Networks Inc., including IFC, Sundance and WE TV. The latest contract between the two companies expired Saturday.
Dish has said it dropped AMC because the price to carry the channel was going up too high. The company has also expressed concern about AMC shows, including "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad," being available on other services such as iTunes and Netflix soon after the shows have aired on AMC.
AMC disputes Dish's reasons for dropping the channels and says that the real reason has to do with a legal fight between the two companies. In 2008, AMC sued Dish, alleging breach of contract regarding a distribution agreement.
"Dish customers have lost some of their favorite shows because of an unrelated lawsuit which has nothing at all to do with our programming," AMC said in a statement. "In fact, Dish has not discussed rates with us at all."
AMC is also home to critically acclaimed dramas "The Walking Dead" and "The Killing."
Although such fights between programmers and distributors are not unusual, this one has been particularly nasty. Before AMC's removal from Dish's service, the satellite broadcaster moved it to a different channel without any warning.