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Fox Turns Down Barack Obama In Favor of Primetime Lineup

Fox has become the first major network to turn down a request by President Barack Obama for air time, and has opted to stick with its Wednesday lineup instead of the news conference to mark Obama's 100 days in office.

Fox says it while it will not air the primetime conference, it will make 'Lie to Me' viewers aware of it with an "onscreen graphic" pointing them to its sister news outlet, Fox News.

The network doesn't make mention of this in its release, but the 'American Idol' results show at 9 PM is likely the bigger consideration in its decision as Fox doesn't want to risk disrupting the schedule of its cash cow.

The news conference also comes at the start of a ratings sweeps period, where program viewership is closely watched to set future advertising rates.

And it's not necessarily a bad move ratings-wise to be the only network broadcasting a programming alternative for viewers jaded with White House conferences.

This will be Obama's third conference as president, a schedule that has upset some network executives and earned him the nickname 'primetime president'.

Carrying a news conference instead of regular programming costs the major broadcast networks a minimum of $10 million. Although it does provide better lead-in numbers for most follow-up programming.

ABC, NBC, CBS have all agreed to block the 8 PM hour for Obama, along with CNN, MSNBC and CNBC which will carry the coverage as usual.

April 28, 2009 |

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