Broadcast Nets Rearrange Lineups for Thursday Bush Speech

Sep 13, 2005  •  Post A Comment

President Bush’s request for TV time to address the nation from Louisiana at 9 p.m. (ET) Thursday has the broadcast networks rejiggering their prime-time lineups and scheduling updated editions of their flagship newscasts for the time zones in which the speech, which is expected to be more image repair than substance, already will have been heard.

A Fox Broadcasting spokesman said that in the Eastern time zone, Fox plans to run an original episode of “The O.C.,” followed by the president’s address, which is expected to run 30 to 40 minutes. If the address has concluded by around 9:30, Fox will broadcast an encore of the pilot of “The War at Home,” which debuted last Sunday. If the president is still speaking after 9:42, Fox News will fill the time remaining until 10 p.m.

On the West Coast, where the address would have aired at 6 p.m., Fox plans to run “The O.C.” at 8 p.m., followed by the encore of “The War at Home” at 9 and a repeat of “The Bernie Mac Show” at 9:30.

The second original episode of Fox’s freshman “Reunion” is scheduled to air Friday at 9 p.m., followed by an encore of “Bones,” which debuts tonight.

ABC’s entire prime-time lineup will be about Hurricane Katrina on the East Coast, between a special edition of “Primetime” (a Katrina “tick-tock” presented by “Nightline’s” Ted Koppel) at 8 p.m., the president’s address at 9 (again anchored by Mr. Koppel), and a “Primetime Live” about the state of disaster preparedness in other cities. Both of the news hours will air on the West Coast, but by late Tuesday afternoon, it still was not known how the network would fill out the lineup. ABC News also has scheduled a live edition, anchored by Mr. Koppel, about issues highlighted earlier in the evening.

CBS had scheduled a one-two punch of the debut of “Survivor: Guatemala” and a repeat of the two-hour “CSI” directed by Quentin Tarantino — last season’s finale and most-watched “CSI” of the year. “Survivor” will not be affected by the presidential address, but CBS will air two less-celebrated episodes of “CSI” after the address (meaning prime time will run over and push back local news in the East, but end on time in the West). The Tarantino finale has been rescheduled for 9 p.m. (ET) Wednesday, Sept. 21, which will bump the sophomore season opener of “CSI: N.Y.” to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28.

NBC’s schedule on the East Coast will be “Joey” at 8 p.m., “Will & Grace” at 8:30, the Bush speech at 9, “Scrubs” at 9:30 and “ER” at 10. On the West Coast, “Scrubs” will run at 9 and 9:30 p.m.