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THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ

Mixed Billing for Bush Speech

June 28, 2005|Matea Gold

The White House may be billing President Bush's speech tonight at Ft. Bragg, N.C., as a major national address, but not all the broadcast networks have yet decided to treat it that way.

By Monday night, only ABC had committed to preempting its prime-time shows to carry the speech live at 8 p.m. EDT. CBS, NBC and Fox said they would decide today.

The networks typically preempt prime-time programming to air live presidential speeches or presidential news conferences. But the expected message -- that the U.S. effort in Iraq is succeeding -- has created a tricky situation for broadcasters, who do not want to appear to be giving the president unfettered air time for a political message.

KCBS and KABC -- as well as KCET, the PBS station in Los Angeles -- said they would air the speech live at 5 p.m. locally. CNN, Fox News and CSPN3 said they would broadcast it live nationwide.

On the East Coast and in the Midwest, the speech will cut into ABC's "My Wife and Kids" and "George Lopez," which lead into the 9 p.m. premiere of "Empire."

If NBC airs the speech live, it would be forced to bump the series premiere of "Average Joe 4." Fox has scheduled a rerun of "Trading Spouses," and CBS has a repeat of "N.C.I.S."

-- Matea Gold

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