'The Bachelorette' Fans Flip After AT&T DIRECTV Pulls ABC From Many Markets

Some Bachelorette fans were not happy Monday night, and it had nothing to do with Hannah Brown's latest decisions on the show. Instead, many were disappointed to see they could not watch The Bachelorette at all thanks to an ongoing dispute between Nexstar and AT&T that resulted in local ABC stations being blocked.

The dispute means that more than 120 stations in 97 markets have been blacked out midnight July 4, notes The Hollywood Reporter. Nexstar claimed the dispute was linked to AT&T, which also owns DirecTV, acquiring Time Warner for more than $80 billion last year.

"A little more than a year after putting DIRECTV together with Time Warner, AT&T appears intent on using its new market power to prioritize its own content at the expense of consumers, and insisting on unreasonable and extreme terms that are totally inconsistent with the market," Nexstar said in a statement last week, defending its decision to pull its networks from DirecTV Now, DirecTV and U-Verse. "In January, AT&T raised prices on DIRECTV and in April it put through a price increase for its streaming subscription service, DIRECTV NOW."

As for AT&T, it issued a statement in which it called the dispute part of the "Nexstar Playbook."

"Nexstar pulls or threatens to pull their stations from the customers of TV providers to increase fees for stations far beyond their value. They’ve done it to Cox Cable, DISH, and Charter Spectrum, and now they’re doing it to us," AT&T said, reports RBR.

The company noted that ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC have "lost about half their prime-time audience over the past few years," but Nextar is still "demanding the largest increase that AT&T has ever seen from any content provider."

“By asking us to pay even for viewers who choose to receive Nexstar stations for free over the air or through other means, Nexstar is also reducing consumer choice," AT&T continued. "For a company seeking to become the largest broadcaster in America, this is behavior that should not be rewarded."

Nexstar owns local stations across the country affiliated with all four major broadcast networks, as well as MyTV, The CW, Telemundo and Bounce. So as the dispute wears on, Bachelorette fans will not be alone in complaining about missing their shows. According to the company, its stations are available in 38.7 percent of all U.S. TV households.

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For a complete list of Nexstar stations, click here for the list on the company's website.

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