If your kids weren't able to get their daily dose of SpongeBob Square Pants today, or you were left without your favorite show on Comedy Central, MTV or Spike - You're not alone, it's because DirecTV was forced to drop 17 channels owned by media giant Viacom around midnight on Tuesday (July 11th) - affecting nearly 20 million subscribers.

DirecTV and Viacom were unable to come to an agreement on subscriber fees before their seven-year deal expired. Viacom is asking for a 30% increase in programming fees, which equates to about $1 billion more than their previous deal - and DirecTV is refusing to pay.

Both companies are placing blame on the other for the loss of channels to subscribers. DirecTV says that Viacom is demanding too much of an increase at a time when its ratings are falling - and forced them to drop the channels or face legal action. Viacom counters by saying that their proposed deal is fair and "amounts to only a couple of pennies per day, per subscriber." Viacom also says that DirecTV dropped the channels without giving them any advanced warning and "refused to engage in meaningful converstation."

Both DirecTV and Viacom have taken the fight public by launching respective websites: DirecTVpromise.com and WhenDirecTVDrops.com.  Feuds between programming distributors and suppliers over rates are not uncommon, but it is rare when channels are actually taken off the air.

In the meantime, DirecTV has made all 8 Encore channels available to all residential customers thru July 31st. They have also launched an online site that will help you find other ways to watch your favorite Viacom programming online until a deal between the two companies can be reached.

Here is a list of all 17 Viacom Channels dropped by DirecTV:

(Viacom says that 26 channels have been dropped, but they are double-counting the high def versions of these channels)

  1. BET
  2. Centric
  3. CMT
  4. Comedy Central
  5. Logo
  6. MTV
  7. Nick
  8. Nick Jr.
  9. Nick Toons
  10. Nick@Nite
  11. Palladia
  12. Spike
  13. TeenNick
  14. Tr3s
  15. TV Land
  16. VH1
  17. VH1 Classic

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