UPDATED with ABC decision not to air speech live: President Barack Obama will finally make public tomorrow night his plan to overhaul immigration. However, while his primetime speech will postpone part of Univision’s 15th annual Latin Grammys, it will not be covered by the Big 4.
The administration said today that Obama will be speaking live from the White House at 8 PM ET on Thursday. But ABC has the fall finale for Grey’s Anatomy on at that time, while CBS has ratings powerhouse The Big Bang Theory, NBC has reality show The Biggest Loser and Fox has Bones. As of right now, none plans changes to their regularly scheduled Thursday night November sweep schedules for the approximately 15-minute speech.
Although Obama’s speech will be seen on cable news siblings Fox News and MSNBC, Fox and NBC are not carrying it live on their broadcast networks; CNN will show it live. A CBS News division spokesperson says the network will also not be showing Obama’s approximately 15-minute address on Thursday night. (UPDATE, 2:34 PM: An ABC spokesman “ABC is not carrying the president’s address on the television network — it will be carried on all our ABC News digital platforms, including Apple TV, and radio.” Which means it is still Shondaland on ABC on Thursday.)
The broadcast networks were not asked for time by the administration, sources tell me. The time zone difference will see NBC, CBS and ABC adding coverage of Obama’s immigration speech to the West Coast versions of their national nightly news shows.
One network will absolutely be showing the speech live, I’ve learned. With an audience very interested in what Obama has to say, Univision has the 2014 Latin Grammys on tomorrow from 8-11 PM. The speech and possible analysis will be cutting into that broadcast. This is how the network said in a statement that they would handle the two events:
Univision Network will air the POTUS announcement regarding Executive Action on Immigration live tomorrow. We will proceed with our coverage plans for the Latin GRAMMY’s, immediately following the President’s remarks. Complete coverage of the announcement, reactions and what it means for the US will be covered across Univision’s news platforms, as well as on the Network’s “Despierta America” morning show.
Fellow Spanish-language network Telemundo will also show the speech live, with reaction and analysis to follow at least until 9 PM.
Obama’s presumed executive orders on immigration will come just as ABC is kicking off a trio of fall finales for the Shonda Rhimes-produced Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and freshman How To Get Away With Murder. ABC earlier in the day told Deadline it had not made a decision on how the speech could hit their schedule or if it would be aired live. Unless Obama intends on talking for more than an hour, only Grey’s would have been be affected.
Ironically, Grey’s Season 11 fall finale has a Presidential plot line with the White House wanting Patrick Dempsey’s Dr. Derek Shepard to come to D.C. to run a brain-mapping initiative.