Thursday, April 28, 2005

Thursday viewer warning -- Updated with CBS and Fox changes

President Bush's press conference tonight may throw a wrench into your prime-time viewing plans. (Originally expected at 8:30 p.m., the press conference is now slated to start at 8.)
ABC start coverage at 8 p.m., when it had planned to air ''Sweet Home Alabama.'' It will carry news programming -- including an expanded edition of ''PrimeTime Live,'' throughout prime time.
NBC plans Bush coverage from 8 to 9 p.m.; it will pre-empt ''Joey'' and ''Will & Grace'' and resume entertainment programming at 9 with ''The Apprentice.'' (We'll see what they do if the press conference goes past 9.)
After saying that it would not carry the press conference on the network, CBS blinked late in the day. It's putting the press conference from 8 to 9 p.m. Eastern (7 to 8 Central), followed by "Survivor: Palau" and then "CSI." In the Mountain and West Coast time zones, it will have a prime-time lineup of "Survivor," "CSI" and a rerun of "Without a Trace."
Fox also made a late change, adding the press conference at 8, followed by "The Simple Life" at 9.
All of this is subject to yet another last-minute change, of course.
Through all of the schedule changes, I have had mixed feelings about TV's coverage of such events.
My high-minded side says that, when the president wants to speak to the press and through it to the nation, then viewers are entitled to see it live. My cynical side says that it's basically a chance for the president -- any president -- to use a prime-time audience to his advantage, and the people who really want to see it can watch on cable or catch the highlights on the late news.
Then my class-conscious side (on some issues, I have more sides than a dodecahedron) remembers that not everyone has cable; the people without it should still have a chance to see the press conference live. And my selfish side argues that it's Thursday, I've been waiting for a week to see ''Survivor'' (or whatever show your selfish side has been waiting for) and I should get to see what I want and catch the news later. Assuming, that is, that there is news.
As I said, mixed feelings.
But sometimes the networks' decisions are not all about what's appropriate to cover. ABC apparently will run its press conference coverage as ''sustaining'' or commercial-free programming, so the audience will not count as part of its Nielsen averages. On a night where the network usually takes a beating even with entertainment programs, that's to its benefit.


Blogger tv fan-atic said...

Hi R.D.---I agree with your frustration over last night's cnacellations. Whenever George is on, I turn to something else. I had a tape of Judging Amy I watched instead. When will the cancelled programs be run? I am one who watches one program and tapes the other(s), so last night was a triple whammy. *** Also, I also was very surprised and disappointed over: 1. Scott's survival and Constantine's demise; 2. Steph's leaving---Tom should be the Survivor, but I was rooting for her. 3.I dislike R & A intensely, and am rooting for Uchena and spouse. *** This is my first time at blogging (do I hear a bell?)so had to get several things said. By the way, my big challenge will be coming up in two weeks. I will be in Europe the week of the 15th and I am going to teach my teenage babysitter how to program my three VCR's for all the finales and next to last programs of the week. I don't have a back-up plan!! Thanks for your astute comments. I usually agree with you (except I like DAvid Kelley) just as I usually agree with Simon. tv fan-atic

9:44 AM  

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