Viacom ( VIA.B) and EchoStar Communications ( DISH) are close to settling their differences, EchoStar Chairman Charlie Ergen said Tuesday evening. "We're pretty close in terms of agreement in principle, but there are some details that have to be worked out," Dow Jones reported Ergen as saying. EchoStar, the operator of the Dish Network direct broadcast satellite service, has been embroiled in publicly acrimonious negotiations with Viacom over the terms under which Dish transmits the signals of Viacom's 16 owned-and-operated local TV stations, as well as Viacom's stable of nonbroadcast programming channels. On Tuesday morning, EchoStar pulled Viacom's programming from the Dish Network, leaving Dish's 9 million-plus subscribers without access to such channels as MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and BET, as well as pulling CBS stations from the Dish-delivered local programming package in cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia. The dispute between the two companies is the latest in a series of recent battles between content providers and multichannel video distributors over the appropriate costs and terms of programming. Over the past few months, for example, Cox Communications ( COX) complained about the cost of sports programming, but subsequently reupped with the objects of its corporate ire, Fox ( FOX) Sports Net and Disney's ( DIS) ESPN.