For the first time in his presidency, a broadcast network is declining to give President Obama an hour in primetime for a news conference. Fox says it will run a new episode of drama Lie To Me instead. ABC, CBS and NBC all say they will air the press conference, set for Wednesday at 8 p.m..
Unlike fellow broadcasters CBS and ABC however, Fox has two cable outlets that will be covering the presser live. As a result, Fox will present an on-screen graphic at the start of the hour directing viewers to Fox News Channel or Fox Business Network to watch the press conference.
The White House asked the broadcast networks last week to block off an hour of time on Wednesday. Wednesday marks Obama’s 100th day in office.
“The Fox Broadcasting Company will not air the Presidential News Conference on Wednesday, April 29 at 8:00 PM,” said a network statement. “Fox’s sister networks, Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network will air the press conference in its entirety. Fox will be alerting viewers with an on-screen graphic at the top of the 8:00 PM (ET) hour that the press conference is available on Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network.”
The cable news channels are planning wall-to-wall coverage of the press conference, bringing out their top analysts and technology. Also on tap are “reviews” and “grades” of the president’s first three months in office.
While pressers are the bread and butter of cable news, broadcast networks stand to lose millions in advertising revenue by shifting or rescheduling their normal programming. Fox has twice this year shifted its top show American Idol to make room for the White House requests.