Declaring that his customers aren't interested in "looking at zombies in New York City," Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen assured analysts in a conference call today that although they may lose existing customers and be unable to attract new ones, his company's decision to drop AMC Networks from its services would prove to be good for business in the long run. Referencing the network's hit zombie drama The Walking Dead in his comments, Ergen noted that most of their customers "live on farms and ranches" and apparently wouldn't want to watch AMC programming because of their rural location. The other metric the esteemed chairman used to determine viewer interest was his family, as Ergen couldn't recall anyone in his family ever watching "one second" of the other channels that were to be bundled with AMC, including IFC, WEtv, and Sundance.
Regarding AMC's other critically-acclaimed series such as Mad Men and Breaking Bad, Ergen claimed that they weren't widely viewed by Dish's audience and that customers could go to iTunes and download the shows at the same time they air on television. In fact, he went so far as to suggest that it would be cheaper for Dish to foot the entire iTunes bill for their customers than to pay for the AMC Networks package. Content to let history decide his fate, the effusive satellite magnate acknowledged that the analysts would have their opinion next year.
Although the "New York" part of his comment was apparently directed toward an AMC promotional event in NYC, the irony is that virtually the entire Walking Dead series has taken place in rural areas and on a farm. If you have Dish Network, will you be switching providers to keep up with your favorite AMC programs?