President George W. Bush couldn't make time for an interview with Black Entertainment Television, but he did sit down last week in the White House's Map Room with Mario Kreutzberger, also known as "Don Francisco," host of Univision's variety show, Sabado Gigante, for an interview that will air Oct. 30.
Bush was interviewed for the show Oct. 21, just two days after declining a long-standing invitation from BET saying the President couldn't fit it into his schedule, according to BET.
Democratic candidate John Kerry will also appear on Sabado Gigante Oct. 30. His interview (both interviews were about 12 minutes long) was taped Oct. 19 in Scranton, Pa.
Topics of the interviews include immigration, family values and religion, according to Univision. Kreutzberger interviewed Bush and then-candidate Al Gore in 2000.
Sabado Gigante is a three-hour variety show featuring music, comedy, topical features and well-endowed women. Univision estimates its primarily Hispanic audience at 100 million worldwide. The show, now in its 42nd year on the air (18 on Univision), will devote one hour of its Oct. 30 show to the election.
BET, which targets a primarily African-American audience, requested interviews with both candidates in early September. Kerry agreed, and was interviewed Oct. 7.
The White House had not responded BET's request until Oct. 19, according to BET, when the answer was that the President didn't have the time in his schedule but that BET could approach him again "after the election."
"Obviously we were disappointed that the President declined our interview to address African-Americans in the same manner that he is obviously addressing Hispanics," said Michael Lewellen, VP, corporate communications, BET, Washington.
At press time, the White House had not responded as to why the President had found the time for Univision but not BET.