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Most people were convinced Sunbeam and DirecTV would come to an agreement at the last second but neither side budged so WSVN, WHDH and WLVI have gone dark on DirecTV after an agreement was not reached by 11:59pm on Friday night. DirecTV followed that with a scathing press release calling Sunbeam an outlier “who has no problem committing an unthinkable abuse of the public trust in an effort to shake down an excessive financial arrangement for themselves.” Adding that Sunbeam asked for a 300% increase in the retransmission fee, though they didn’t specify what the previous fee was. DirecTV press release after the jump

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As the retrans fee dispute between WSVN and DirecTV reaches the 11th hour, and the station being unable to get what they feel is a fair market value, starting last night a one minute and 40 seconds story on the dispute started to air warning viewers that more than 270,000 people (DirecTV customers?) in South Florida could miss this weekend’s NFL game, 7News and American Idol and encouraging them to call DirecTV to “voice their concerns”.

They also showed a statement from DirecTV in which the satellite operator says they have no problem compensating Sunbeam fairly for WSVN but were told if there is no agreement the station will be removed from DirecTV’s channel lineup.

I wonder if the “fair market value” demand has something to do with FOX’s requirements affiliates pay them a minimum fee for each cable/satellite subscriber, and if Sunbeam/WSVN are trying to avoid digging into their pockets to pay FOX’s high fees!

Check out the video after the jump

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Managed to catch some of ‘Today in Florida’ this morning and it appears WSVN and DirecTV are in a retrans fee argument. Every half our before the first ad break WSVN ran a full screen notice warning DirecTV viewers they might lose WSVN and FOX programming if the two companies don’t come to an agreement by January 13th, tomorrow.

The Sun Sentinel today has a quote from WSVN general manager Bob Leider saying “We know the going rate. DirecTV isn’t close to fair market value.” So whether WSVN/FOX will go dark on Friday or not remains to be seen considering there’s a football game on FOX this weekend and any blackout would leave a lot of viewers angry.

Of course DirecTV or FOX could always put Palm Beach FOX affiliate WFLX temporarily on to avert any potential backlash from football fans.

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Alex DiPrato Photo: WPRI.com

Alex DiPrato will soon be joining WSVN as a reporter, he is currently a reporting at Rhode Island CBS affiliate WPRI.  This is actually a comeback for him, in addition to being a South Florida native and a graduate from the University of Miami, DiPrato is also no stranger to The Newsplex — he worked at WSVN from 2002 until 2006 first as a writer then as an associate producer.

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Mike Marza, as he will be known, is joining WSVN as anchor of 7news at 4, 4:30, 5:30 and 6:30 newscasts, replacing Charles Billi who left the station in February. Marza might look familiar to you if you watch ABC News except there he was known as Mike Marusarz, he has anchored and reported for Good Morning America, World News Now, World News and other ABC properties.

He started his career at Fox News in 2004, spent 2 years at WIBW in Topeka Kansas, from 2005 to 2010 he was at KSHB in Kansas City, Missouri working as multimedia journalist and weekend anchor before heading to News 12 Long Island where he freelanced for 6 months as anchor and reporter.

Mike Marza’s first day on WSVN 7News at 4 is July 11

Check out his demo “sizzle” reel (a sneaky shot of his big muscles in there too by the way) after the jump