Since I posted last month on soap interruptions, I had to laugh when I came across this little nugget last week, Grey's Tornado. Apparently, an affiliate breaking into primetime for a weather alert is newsworthy because viewers were pissed off - something like "man bites dog." Now of course, for soap fans, it's more like "dog bites man." I mean, can you imagine if newspapers reported on pissed off fans every time a local affiliate broke into soaps for a weather alert? Wouldn't leave a lot of room for the rest of the news, now would it? And props to the commenter who asked, "Whatever happened to the scroll at the bottom of the screen?"
And then there was this: "Obama drama: Nets take a stand against primetime pre-emptions" read the headline. Now I'm not so naïve as to think that holding these Presidential press conferences in primetime has anything to do with the administration trying to keep soap fans happy. However, and I have to say I've been afraid to say this out loud, as it were, but since Obama was elected, he has not interrupted the soaps. Not once, at least not on the East Coast. I first noticed this during the transition, when the press conferences commenced at 11:00AM EST, just after Guiding Light airs in both New York and Chicago. Maybe it's just a coincidence, but coincidence or not, this soap fan, for one, hopes it will last.
But I'm not holding my breath. These primetime broadcasts are clearly intended to engage citizens in the process by reaching a larger audience with the President's message. And while the administration has thus far followed West Wing's press secretary C.J Cregg's advice not to disrupt the networks' money night, Thursday - the February press conference was on a Monday; March, Tuesday, and thankfully, the 100 day mark fell on a Wednesday - there's a real financial impact for the networks. So will the Obama administration yield to network pressure and follow the lead of previous administrations by scheduling press conferences during the day, or stick to their guns? Stayed tuned.
© 2009 Lynn Liccardo
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