Dish Network subscribers, concerned they will be left wondering just how Walter White and Jesse Pinkman are faring, while all their friends and colleagues, equipped with cable or DirecTV, ramble on, endlessly spewing spoilers from the season 5 premiere of Breaking Bad, can now breathe a sigh of relief. AMC will offer a special live stream of the episode online, July 15.
The recent dispute between AMC and television provider Dish Network, which has left customers with a dark channel where they once found programs like Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Walking Dead and the occasional edited-for-television versions of Rambo, Commando and The Fugitive, has been going on for some time now. Since neither side was willing to give in to the other's demands, Dish summarily dropped AMC and its sister-channels, IFC, Sundance and WE, after their contract ran out.
According to Dish, the issue at hand was AMC Networks' exorbitant demands in regards to distribution fees for its channels that typically didn't grab high ratings – namely IFC and WE. To counter, AMC has stated that the real issue stems from a breach of contract lawsuit regarding the now out of use VOOM HD channels that Dish dropped several years ago. AMC Networks and Cablevision are currently suing Dish for $2.5 billion in damages, over a handful channels that most people have never heard of.
Interestingly enough, with the case set to go to trial in September, some experts believe it will be in Dish's best interest to settle – allowing them to pay far less than $2.5 billion dollars, and get AMC back on their service before the fall premiere of The Walking Dead. Until then, however, the chances are, Dish's customers will be without access to Breaking Bad and the late-summer premiere of Hell on Wheels season 2.
As such, AMC wants to make sure Dish subscribers can tune in to Breaking Bad – for the first episode, at any rate. In a statement, AMC said:
“Every cable, phone and satellite company other than Dish carries AMC and its popular programming, including Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and Mad Men in their basic package. AMC wants its loyal Dish viewers to experience the excitement of the Breaking Bad premiere at the same time as their friends and neighbors and we want to give Dish customers an extra week to switch providers so they can enjoy the rest of the season.”
Beginning July 13, Dish subscribers can go to AMC's website and register for access to the live stream of the season 5 premiere. The episode will go live at 10pm EST, Sunday night.
Dish subscribers are undoubtedly getting the short end of the stick in regards to this legal dispute, but it seems AMC is making some effort, in terms of keeping the audience interested in its product. If nothing else, being teased with only the first episode probably will encourage fans of Breaking Bad to seek other cable or satellite providers that can get along with AMC.
Breaking Bad season 5 will premiere Sunday, July 15 @10pm on AMC – or online, if you have Dish Network.