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Turn Out the Lights: DirecTV drops Versus ... Rob Tallas Officially Joins Staff

Test_Pattern Whole lot of he-said, she-said going on with the DirecTV-Versus dispute that has at least temporarily pulled the Comcast-owned 'network' off of DirecTV.

The contract between the two expired at midnight.

According to DirecTV, Versus wants a 20 percent increase in what DirecTV already pays out -- something DirecTV rightfully feels is preposterous.

On its website, DirecTV called Versus' demands ''piggish'' and called it a channel which ''is basically a paid programming and infomercial channel with occasional sporting events of interest.''

Comcast, which competes directly with DirecTV for customers, says it has the fastest growing cable network around and deserves more money.


DirecTV said in a statement that Comcast ''forced us to take down the channel because we will not agree to their ridiculous demands that simply do not reflect current market valuations for their programming."

Says Comcast: "We are disappointed that DirecTV has chosen to remove Versus from its service and deny their subscribers access to our all-encompassing coverage of the sports they love. Since our last deal with DirecTV, Versus has added many marquee properties and has become one of the fastest-growing sports cable networks in the country. Versus offered DirecTV a fair and reasonable offer to carry the network at the market price. We hope DirecTV will make the right decision for their customers and put Versus back on the air."

Versus, home of some college football and IndyCar racing aside from its national NHL contract, hopes to be back on the air in the coming days, but it looks like they are going to be the ones dropping the concessions. I just don't see them having much in the way of negotiating. Are people really clamoring to see Mountain West football that badly? Will the bull riding folk go crazy this weekend and flood DirecTV's phone banks with demands that Versus return?

Doubtful. But, when hockey kicks up again, the NHL just may have to get involved and get those DirecTV eyeballs back.

And, if you want to contact DirecTV on Versus' behalf, knock yourself out.

Again, this will get worked out before the NHL season starts.

-- For those with DirecTV, here's what you are missing on Versus right now -- Noon-12:30: Paid programming; 12:30-1: Whitetail Revolutions; 1-1:30 Hunting 201.

-- Rob Tallas has been working with Tomas Vokoun and the rest of the early-to-rise Panthers at Incredible Ice the past few weeks. Now he'll get to continue that work into the season as the team hired the former NHL goalie as its new goalie consoltent.