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AMC-Dish feud cuts a minute of 'Mad Men' finale

June 11, 2012|By Ben Fritz
  • Three myseterious ads criticizing Dish Network for planning to drop AMC interrupted the season finale of "Mad Men" Sunday night.
Three myseterious ads criticizing Dish Network for planning to drop AMC… (Dave Getzschman )

Anything interesting happen on "Mad Men" at the end of Peter's fight with his commuting buddy? During Don's conversation with Joan about what to do with Lane's death benefit? Or when Megan and her friend were talking about auditions?

I can't be sure because all of those scenes in Sunday's season finale were interrupted for a 15- or 30-second ad warning me that Dish Network, my television provider, was about to drop AMC. (For more on this heated dispute, read this post.)

I'm not talking about AMC-sponsored ads during the normal commercial breaks urging me, "Make your voice heard and tell Dish they can't drop AMC." I'm not even talking about the text crawl with a similar message that has run along the bottom of the last couple of episodes. Annoying as it is, I've gotten used to that too.

I mean that in the middle of a scene, an ad suddenly appeared and encouraged me to visit www.keepamc.com, an anti-Dish website sponsored by the network. When it ended and "Mad Men" picked up, it was clear I had lost 15 or 30 seconds of the scene. In total, that's a full minute of the season finale of one of my favorite TV shows — one of the reasons I pay for television — that I missed.

And these ads were incredibly annoying. One featured a blaring siren and the phone number for Dish competitor DirecTV, urging me to switch providers.

Sounds like a battlefront escalation by AMC in its war against Dish, right? If I'm upset that I'm being forced to miss the show, I'm probably more likely to visit the website or call the toll-free number on screen (both sponsored by AMC) to end this situation.

Perhaps it's AMC's way of getting back at Dish for moving it from Channel 130 to Channel 969 last week.

One problem, though: An AMC spokeswoman said the network would never skip content in a scene for an advertisement. She has not heard of anyone else with a similar problem, she claimed.

A Dish spokesman didn't respond to a request for comment.

There's reason to believe I'm not crazy though. Several people complained on AMC's official "Mad Men" Facebook page of similar experiences. "Cutting in on the show mid-sentence mid-scene was a class-less move AMC," wrote one fan, Kimberly Ramona.

Another annoyed viewer left a more pointed note on Dish's Facebook page: "I am sooooo dropping dish network!!! You interrupted Mad Men not once, but TWICE during the season finale!!! You messed with my men one too many times!"

Maybe it's the TV business equivalent of black ops: Something dirty is going on, but whoever did it has committed themselves to plausible deniability.

RELATED:

Fight between AMC and Dish gets nastier

Dish says it is dropping AMC Networks

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