- - Wednesday, July 11, 2012

DirecTV subscribers are losing access to “The Daily Show” and “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

DirecTV Group Inc. stopped carrying channels owned by Viacom Inc. because of a contract dispute, the Associated Press reports. They include MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central.

The dispute is over how much DirecTV should pay to carry the Viacom programming. The two companies blame each other for the shutdown.

Viacom and DirecTV have had an agreement for seven years, which Viacom said meant it has been paid below-market rates for the programming. DirecTV, meanwhile, said Viacom is asking for too much money.

DirecTV has 20 million U.S. subscribers.

Couric takes a spin with Danica Patrick at Indy

Katie Couric feels bad for Ann Curry.

The former co-host of NBC’s “Today” show was in Indianapolis on Tuesday to take a drive around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Danica Patrick. The feature will air sometime after Ms. Couric’s syndicated talk show, called “Katie,” debuts in September.

When Ms. Couric left “Today” to go to CBS, Ms. Curry was passed over for the top job for Meredith Vieira. And Ms. Curry recently was replaced as a co-host by Savannah Guthrie after about a year on the job.

Asked about Ms. Curry, Ms. Couric first said: “That is such old news. Are you guys really still writing about that?”

“I felt bad for Ann, and I felt bad for the whole team on the show,” she said. “Transitions like that are really tough. But I know she’ll go on and do great things.”

Patrick said she was happy to make a visit to the Speedway. She is set to return to the Brickyard at the end of July for her first race since she left the IndyCar Series to focus on NASCAR full time.

“It’s good to be back here,” Patrick said. “I didn’t think my first lap in a stock car around here would be a school stock car, but I thought it was a good lead into a couple of weeks from now when we’re actually here for the real deal.”

Ms. Couric said her interview with Patrick won’t be part of the show’s debut, but it’s “going to be early in the season.”

Patrick also took Ms. Couric on a trip around the famous track.

Story Continues →