WMTW’s programming has returned to DirecTV after being absent for two days.

The station, an ABC affiliate, was pulled from the satellite TV service Friday as part of a dispute over rebroadcast fees between its owner, Hearst Television, and DirecTV, which is owned by AT&T. Hearst pulled the 34 stations it owns in 26 markets from the service, but restored the signals Sunday after the two sides reached a deal on how much DirecTV pays to carry the stations’ signals.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Stations and carriers often threaten to “black out” channels when there’s a dispute over the fees. The same thing happened with WMTW and DirecTV in 2017, and in 2012 the station’s programming was briefly removed from Time Warner’s cable TV lineup in Maine during negotiations over the fee.

This time, DirecTV accused Hearst of using this past weekend’s NFL playoff games as a bargaining chip in the talks. Several of Hearst’s stations are NBC affiliates, and the network was scheduled to carry a Sunday afternoon playoff game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Seattle Seahawks.

An agreement was reached just before that game started.

ABC carried Saturday’s playoff game between the Houston Texans and the Buffalo Bills, but that game also was available to viewers on ESPN.


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