For networks, another re-run: Obama in prime time


After the White House announced that President Obama will address a joint session of Congress in prime time next Wednesday, broadcast network executives couldn’t be blamed for thinking: “Again?”

Obama is stealing more air time with yet another prime time address

Already, Obama has held four prime-time news conferences—far more than his recent predecessors at this point in their presidencies —along with his speech before Congress in February. By preempting prime-times shows, participating networks end up losing advertising revenue each time the president takes the podium, but it’s hard to present themselves as having credible news operations if they decide not to show him.

“If the networks don’t carry it, they ought to be ashamed of themselves,” said Democratic strategist Paul Begala. “It’s not like they’re going to be bumping ‘Masterpiece Theater.’ What are they going to run, bikini models eating worms in some kind of contest?”

Actually, such a reality show premise could score better ratings than Obama when he’s talking about health care. This will be the third time since June that Obama has pushed the administration’s health care reform plan to the American people during prime-time, and the ratings indicate that audience interest is dropping.



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