Michael Jackson isn’t the only public figure worthy of multiple primetime specials this summer.
ABC and CBS said Wednesday they would air hourlong specials this evening paying tribute to Sen. Edward Kennedy, who died late Tuesday. The network specials will supplement the saturation coverage of Kennedy’s passing currently dominating cable news.
NBC has opted against honoring Kennedy and will stick with its previously planned lineup of "America’s Got Talent" and "Law & Order: SVU." "Talent" is NBC’s top-rated summer show, while repeats of "SVU" are financially lucrative.
The CBS special, "Ted Kennedy: The Last Brother," will air at 8 p.m. and will be anchored by Katie Couric. The special will feature interviews of Kennedy by Lesley Stahl, Gloria Borger and the late Ed Bradley.
ABC, meanwhile, will air "Remembering Ted Kennedy" in place of the previously announced 10 p.m. edition of "Primetime." Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer will anchor from Hyannis Port and New York, respectively.
Cable’s CNN and MSNBC are also planning Kennedy documentaries tonight.
MSNBC has moved up Thursday’s planned premiere of "The Kennedy Brothers: A Hardball Documentary" to tonight at 8 p.m. PT/11 p.m. ET.
And CNN has worked out a deal with sibling network HBO to air "Teddy: In His Own Words" this afternoon at 4 p.m. PT. The doc premiered last month on HBO.
CNN and MSNBC were in non-stop Kennedy mode Wednesday, focusing almost exclusively on the senator’s passing. Fox News was mixing Kennedy coverage with regular reporting on Fox- friendly stories such as a woman’s 911 plea for help.