Friday, April 29

Screw the White House, It's Sweeps!

Under the header "Most Networks Almost Skipped It," today's WSJ Morning Brief regurgitates the story that President Bush's news conference last night almost didn't make it to the air waves after the short notice caught the networks in the midst of launching May sweeps:

When the White House told the broadcast networks about it with less than 24 hours notice, only ABC didn't balk at interrupting its prime-time lineup, Variety reports. The other three big networks were looking at the fact that Thursday was the first night of the May sweeps period – when ratings are used to set future advertising rates. Industry insiders tell Variety that "NBC was the first net to cave" in to peer pressure, suggesting to the White House that if it moved the press conference to 8 p.m. from the original time of 8:30, it would likely cover the event. Yesterday afternoon, the administration did just that. The insiders say Fox was the next to fold after NBC, and that CBS, which now dominates the Thursday ratings race, quickly followed.

For those of us who aren't Hollywood insiders with Variety subscriptions ($299/year!), SFGate carries the AP version.