The White House asked for airtime Wednesday night for a speech on the growing financial crisis -- but, somewhat surprisingly given the gravity of the situation, not enough time to throw the networks entirely off-stride during premiere week.
According to CNN, the president asked for 12-14 minutes Wednesday at 9 p.m. His speech would follow testimony Wednesday afternoon on the Hill by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who said that if Congress does not allow the government to buy up bad loans, it could have a devastating effect on the economy. Paulson acknowledged that the American public was troubled and, in some cases, angry.
A spokesman for ABC, which has a two-hour David Blaine special scheduled to start at 9 p.m., said Charlie Gibson would anchor its coverage of the speech, which would start just before the speech and end "pretty soon" afterward.
Brian Williams will anchor for NBC, which will also likely not stick around for much analysis, according to a source, given that it is premiere week.
NBC's MSNBC will also cover the speech and provide analysis until about 9:30 p.m., an NBC spokesman said. Rachel Maddow will host MSNBC’s coverage.
Katie Couric will anchor CBS News’ coverage of the speech beginning at 9 p.m., but there was no word on how much time that network would give it. The speech will also be carried live by CBS Radio News and CBSNews.com.
Fox News Channel will cover the speech then throw it to Hannity & Colmes, which airs from 9 p.m.-10 p.m.