The broadcast networks are not expected to carry President Bush’s primetime speech Monday night, in which he will lay out a “clear strategy” for the future of Iraq.
The Bush administration has not requested the Big Four to air live the president’s address to an audience at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Penn., scheduled for 8 p.m. EDT on the last Monday of the May sweep, a crucial period when networks chase high ratings in order to set ad rates.
NBC, Fox and ABC will proceed with their scheduled programming for the 8-9 p.m. hour -- an episode of “Fear Factor,” the finale of “The Swan” and the broadcast premiere of Oscar-winning “A Beautiful Mind,” respectively.
NBC and Fox’s sibling cable channels, MSNBC and Fox News, will carry the speech.
CBS is not expected to make a final decision on whether to preempt its Monday 8-9 p.m. comedy block -- season finales of “Yes, Dear” and “Still Standing” -- until Monday but sources indicated the network was leaning toward sticking with its regular programming.
At least one network, Fox, has offered the speech to any of its affiliates that wish to carry it.
“The president looks forward on Monday evening to discussing with the American people and with a global audience a clear strategy on how we need to move forward,” White House spokesman Trent Duffy told reporters Friday. “We hope that Americans will take the opportunity to listen.”
The speech is expected to be carried worldwide on cable networks, he said.
Last May, the Big Four had to reshuffle their Thursday lineups the second week of the sweep to carry Bush’s address announcing the end of major combat in Iraq.