Obama Puts the Networks in a Pickle (Again)

Fox, NBC Have Tough Choices to Make On Sept. 9

Last Updated: September 3, 2009 @ 12:58 PM

President Obama’s decision to address a joint session of Congress Sept. 9 is once again putting two broadcast networks in something of a pickle.

 

Or maybe not.

 

While ABC and CBS will still be in repeat/reality mode next week, Fox and NBC both have some tough choices to make. Especially Fox.

 

The network’s long-hyped official premiere of "Glee" is scheduled for the same night (and, most likely, timeslot) as Obama’s speech. Fox is also bowing the new fall season of "So You Think You Can Dance" Sept. 9.

 

NBC, meanwhile, has a results episode of "America’s Got Talent" slated for the 9 p.m. hour next Wednesday. The White House hasn’t said when the president will speak, but most joint sessions of Congress– think the State of the Union– are usually slated for 9 p.m.

 

The Peacock won’t have to struggle to fit in Obama and "AGT." It can simply push the results show to 8 p.m. or 10 p.m. without much difficulty.

 

But Fox? Rescheduling "Glee" and "Dance" would mean throwing away millions in marketing dollars pushing viewers to tune in on Sept. 9.

 

No official word from the network yet, but TV MoJoe will be shocked if Rupert Murdoch– who’s already shown he’s OK with Fox not carrying presidential news conferences– decides to redraw Fox’s fall premiere plans for one speech.

 

Indeed, "Glee" might actually get a bit of a boost from Obama’s move, since presidential speeches generally don’t do as well as regular network programming.

 

The CW, by the way, will also be in originals Sept. 9, offering the season premiere of "America’s Next Top Model." But the mini-net has never carried presidential speeches and such.

 

The White House has not won any fans on Network Row during the past year. Insiders have fumed that the administration has asked the network for too much airtime to help push his agenda.

 

If there’s an upside to the newest speech, it’s that it comes before the fall season really kicks into gear.