I'm not sure there is any value to the handshake agreement ... if there was, Tribune would not have refuted the deal.
If DirecTv has a handshake agreement on the locals, they might take a chance and just keep em on, and let the court decide if the agreement was binding. WGN America on the other hand was not mentioned as being agreed upon in the original release was it?
I can see the scenario where DirecTV and Tribune were talking on Thursday, Tribune made an offer for local channels only separate from WGN America and DirecTV did not immediately accept it - wanting to settle the whole issue. (If it were accepted then it should have been announced then.) Then today DirecTV thought better of the deal and decided to accept it ... but Tribune did not consider the deal still on the table. DirecTV probably should have checked to make sure there still was a deal before the Saturday morning press release but errors happen.
Hopefully the locals deal can be revived. It would be nice to see a deal for everything and be done with it but the parties don't seem to be close to that outcome. But 11th hour has happened before and we're just about at that time.