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Fox likely to pass on Obama address again [Updated]

Obama President Obama’s plan to make his case for healthcare reform in an address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday is forcing the broadcast television networks to upend their prime-time schedules yet again, much to their consternation.

Obama’s speech has been billed as the White House’s last and best chance to regain the upper hand on the roiling healthcare debate. But not all the networks are willing to cooperate. It appears unlikely that Fox, which is debuting the season premiere of “So You Think You Can Dance,” followed by its much-anticipated new comedy “Glee,” will carry the speech. Instead, the network’s sister channel Fox News will air the address. (A Fox spokeswoman said no decision has officially been made yet.)

It won’t be the first time that Fox ignored a presidential appearance. In July, the network opted to air “So You Think You Can Dance” instead of Obama’s prime-time news conference, a decision that helped it win the night in viewership.

So far, NBC is the only network that has committed to carrying Wednesday’s speech, which will air at 8 p.m. EDT, forcing that network to push back a new episode of “America’s Got Talent.” ABC, which was scheduled to air “Wipeout” in that hour, will also likely carry Obama’s address. CBS planned to run repeats of “New Adventures of Old Christine” and “Gary Unmarried” and has not yet announced whether it will change its plans.

Complicating the scheduling is the fact that the Republicans are demanding equal air time to respond to the president, which would likely force the networks to scuttle their 9 p.m. programming too.

Obama’s frequent addresses to the public in prime time since taking office are wearing on the broadcast networks, which have lost millions in advertising revenue from canceled entertainment programming -- no small matter during an economic downturn. But for the most part, the pressure to deliver live news on matters of major public significance has outweighed the networks' financial considerations.

On the other hand, the president's prime-time appearances have been welcome fodder for the cable news networks, which thrive on live news events.

[Updated at 9:16 a.m.: CBS will carry Obama's address, a CBS News spokesman said.]

[Updated at 10:13 a.m.: ABC News confirmed that it will air the president's speech and the Republican response from 8 to 9 p.m. ET, indicating that the networks remain hopeful that the event will only disrupt an hour of prime time.]

[Updated at 3:30 p.m.: Fox confirmed that the network will not carry Obama's speech. An on-screen graphic will alert viewers that the address is available on the Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network.]

-- Matea Gold 

Photo: Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg

Comments () | Archives (54)

Wow. Its truly alarming when a “fair and balanced” news source knowingly opts out of airing a presidential speech likely to change the course of health care reform to broadcast a reality show. I guess it just goes to show how divided and bias everyone is, and how important it is not only to focus on what networks do air, but also what they choose not to. The news outlet you choose is as important as the news itself. Get your news from a reliable source. http://www.newsy.com/videos/obama_s_new_healthcare_strategy

This will anger the president yet again. Obama does not like being snubbed by the networks. So they will have to be careful because if the networks continue to snub him he might take that network off the air.

Fox news is in the business of keping it's watchers stupid. It does a wonderful job.

This shouldn't be a problem for the president, he is going to creat the new "OBAMA" TV Channel for all the people to watch. This way everyone can see the "Change" Because that is all we will have left when this administration takes away your $$.

FOX as news is totally worthless. Anybody with a brain has to know this.

Earth to Stephanie: Try reading the whole article, Fox News (Fair and Balanced) will carry the address.

I'm not a member of Congress. I don't plan on spending my Wednesday night watching this. I am not involved in this discussion so I can read about the happenings in the news the day following. Why does it have to be on every major network? Put it on the national news channels and don't interrupt prime time programming.

Stephanie did you read the article or just the headline? This is talking about the fox broadcast network, not the news channel.

I fail to see how the Republicans are entitled to an hour of prime time to respond to the Presidents speech. Why dont they utilize their own channed (Fox News)?

Read carefully before making STUPID comments. The "news channel" intends to cover the speech, while the "entertainment channel" will not. Pretty fair and balanced since a balance does not want to watch this guy at all.

Of course FOX won't let its followers hear Obama, they need their followers to stay tuned to the lies and fake outrage put out by their people. Republicans have become nothing but Political Terrorists! How dare they terrorize our elderly with Death Panels followed with euthanazia. Death is a big thing for the elderly and Republicans Terrorize them with threats of Death? How low are these Political Terrorists going to go?

I think this is complete bull**** that he's doing yet again another televised speech during prime time. If I was the tv stations I would tell him that he would have to do it at another time during the day because we're losing to much money and we may have to lay some people off because of it. Just because he is President doesn't mean you have to bow to his every word. We'll just have to wait and see how many people tune in to his little speech compared to every other channel..I for one could careless for the guy.

Who cares? Fox is a joke anyway. The people who actually consider Fox a reliable new source can spend that time teaching their kids to say no and say it often (always, actually - no matter what).

I would rather watch something good on T.V. I work for a living and when I get home I listen to the nightly news and then watch my favorite shows. What he says live isn't going to change as the T.V. and Radio news reports, conservative, liberal and progressive pundits spend the next two days telling us what he said, what he meant and what it means to us. Give me a break

Well according to the article Fox News IS airing the broadcast; it is simply the entertainment Fox channel that is airing a reality show instead. I think that is a bit tacky but I don't see what the big deal is, because that's their entertainment station. As long as the Fox News channel is showing the address I don't see where the story is. If someone doesn't have standard cable and cant watch one of the cable news networks there are still about 5 stations that will carry the address.

Mary, Are you serious? How diluted could the population of our country possibly be? Are you not even capable of thinking accurately for yourself? How is the president going to shut down and media company? Do you think before your type?

Watchout networks!
I see a T.V. Czar takeover on the horizon...

I don't think the Fox network claims to be a news source. They don't have a national news broadcast, and many Fox affiliates don't have local news either. The "fair and balanced" network, Fox News, will be covering the speech.

If you read the article you will see that Fox News is broadcasting. Prime time stations grow weary of the grandstanding (although reality TV sickens me).
And if you think you're going to learn about how healthcare reform is going to impact everyone through one of his speeches you're incredibly naive.

Our great leader wants to be the center of attention AGAIN, I wonder if he's going to ask us to write letters to each other on how to help him, write his holy quotes and post it all over our houses. Everywhere I go I see Obamas pictures it's creepy.

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