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Dish, CBS Flap Snares ‘Big Bang Theory’ Star

28 Feb, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

CBS claims it never asked Kaley Cuoco to delete her tweet

Dish Network Feb. 28 expressed support for "The Big Bang Theory" star Kaley Cuoco after it claimed CBS Corp. asked the actress to remove a sponsored post on her Twitter social media account endorsing the satellite TV operator’s controversial Hopper digital video recorder.

“Big Bang Theory,” which is created by Warner Bros. Television, is one of CBS’ top-rated shows. Cuoco’s Twitter account has more than 1.2 million followers.

Celebrities with sizable social media followings often are paid to endorse products. A few years ago, Warner Home Video paid Kim Kardashian to promote a Christmas-themed DVD on her Twitter account during the winter holidays.

Dish is embroiled in litigation with several media companies, including CBS, over Hopper’s AutoHop ad-skipping technology that allows users to automatically skip commercials on recorded programming.

Dish paid Cuoco an undisclosed amount to tweet the following message, which included a link to a TV ad spot: “Amazing! Watching live TV anywhere on the Hopper looks pretty amazing! Now where can I find a tiny beer?”

"It's disappointing that CBS — once the exemplar of editorial independence and innovation — continues to use its heavy hand to hold back progress from consumers," Dish CEO Joseph Clayton said in a statement.

CBS fired back saying it never demanded Cuoco take down the tweet.

"Once again, Joe Clayton demonstrates his dubious gift for hyperbole and hucksterism," CBS said in a statement. "No demands were made, but it’s clear that Dish’s culture of fabrication is alive and well.” 

Dish said Cuoco took down the tweet shortly after the alleged complaint, but not before it was viewed by "several thousand" followers.

CBS contends AutoHop is a threat to the ad-supported primetime network business model, which makes programming such as “Big Bang Theory” possible. In January, CBS ordered that Hopper be removed from consideration as CNET’s “Best in Show” at the annual International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. That action prompted the resignation of CNET reporter Greg Sandoval.

Dish is no stranger to employing controversial tactics to gain a competitive advantage, including dropping third-party content during carriage negotiations. Dish sponsored a racecar for the Feb. 24 Daytona 500 NASCAR after Fox Broadcasting Co. refused to air Hopper ads during the telecast.

In addition to AutoHop, Fox claims Hopper’s new "Sling" technology allows users to stream recorded content on portable devices, which it says is a violation of the satellite TV operator’s carriage agreement.


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