Programming

President's Speech Won't Interrupt Football

Major networks expected to carry address 9/01/2011 05:30:26 PM Eastern

The economy may be hurting, and jobs hard to come by, but the president has indicated he won't let his speech on those issues to a joint session of Congress interrupt the NFL game scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 8 (on NBC), according to various sources.
 
The major networks are all expected to carry the speech, which the White House said late Thursday that it was scheduling at 7 p.m.
 
NBC dodged two bullets with that scheduling, however. Originally, the president planned to speak Sept. 7, the same night of a Republican presidential candidate debate, but moved it to Sept. 8 after discussions with House Speaker John Boehner. That then appeared to threaten NBC's coverage of the game before the White House signaled the Football Fan in Chief would not overrun -- or delay -- the kickoff.
 
That will be good news for WTMJ-TV Milwaukee. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Steve Wexler, VP of radio and TV operations for Journal Broadcast Group, which owns the stations and is co-owned with the newspaper, wanted NBC to make both the speech and the football game available to affiliates and let them choose. His choice, he told the paper, would be the game, with the president carried on a digital multicast channel.
 
While that threat appears to have been averted, depending on when the speech starts -- a White House spokesman would not say when that would be before an official advisory has been issued -- NBC may have to rearrange plans for its pregame festivities for the NFL season opener between the former World Champion the New Orleans Saints and World Champion the Green Bay Packers.

NBC had no details on its coverage plans, though now the only issue is if the speech will run into their pregame coverage. Currently, pregame coverage is slated to start at 7:30 p.m. The White House did not mention the length of Obama's speech its announcement.

 
Now, the only question remains: Will the President end his speech with "God Bless America" or "Are you ready for some football?"

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