Networks Won’t Air Giuliani and McCain Speeches

Yahoo! News – Nets set GOP confab plan (Variety)

Sen. John McCain won’t make the cut, and neither will former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. With their limited primetime coverage of this year’s political conventions, the broadcast networks will forgo carrying the remarks of these two political icons when the Republicans open their confab Monday in Gotham. Their rationale? The public apparently doesn’t want the broadcast nets to turn over their primetime skeds to the confabs — and if folks do want to overdose, they can tune in those round-the-clock cable news nets.

ABC, CBS and NBC each are devoting only three primetime hours to the GOP’s four-day gathering, the same amount of time allotted to the Democratic convention in Boston last month. Monday night will be dark altogether, just as Tuesday was dark during the Dem confab, when the nets didn’t carry U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama’s rousing speech. (When setting their coverage skeds, the nets didn’t know who would be speaking on what day, aside from the main speeches by the candidates.)

McCain is skedded to speak shortly after 10 p.m. ET Monday, opening day of the convention. Following his speech will be a brief 9/11 tribute and then remarks and benediction by Giuliani. ABC News said it will carry a special live convention report anchored by Peter Jennings at halftime during “Monday Night Football.”

On all three nets, regular primetime convention coverage will run from 10-11 p.m. ET Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday — when President Bush accepts his party’s nomination. Tuesday night, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and first lady Laura Bush are set to speak in the 10 o’clock hour. Same with Vice President Dick Cheney on Wednesday.

NBC News, unlike its competish, has a sister cable news net to rely on to carry all aspects of the convention. MSNBC’s coverage will be led by political host Chris Matthews, with the net building an outside set at Macy’s Herald Square.

Well, obviously, the networks can’t carry more of the GOP convention than they did the Democratic one. Still, McCain and Giuliani aren’t exactly Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich.

I’m also puzzled by NBC’s decision to have Matthews, a partisan hack with little journalistic credibility, anchor its primary broadcast. Why not, oh, Tom Brokaw or Brian Williams? Isn’t it customary to put one’s stars on the biggest stories?

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004, Media
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. legion says:

    Yes, Matthews has become a left-wing partisan of late. but I think his presence is entertaining, given the number of right-wing partisan hacks thrown at the Dem convention.

    On a completely unrelated note, “skedded”?!? Who the hell decided “skedded” was a real word? This is a news story, not a freaking cell phone text message… jeez.

  2. James Joyner says:

    What comparable figure of the right is anchoring major network coverage?

    And it’s Variety. They’ve been using bizarre shorthand since at least the 1950s–I remember a couple stories like that from the “I Love Lucy” show.

  3. Tom Galvin says:

    Matthews will anchor the MSNBC coverage, not NBC’s. He did the same thing at the Democratic Convention in Boston, from Faneuil Hall. The question is whether his panelists will be as right-leaning as the Boston panel was left-leaning (Ron Reagan Jr, Joe Trippi, Dee Dee Myers, Willie Brown).

    Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert will be doing the NBC network duties.

    I hate to point out a spelling error but you did it twice – despite the Variety article. It’s Giuliani not “Guiliani.”

    It is a little unfair that the networks won’t cover the first night which gives a political party its convention momentum.

  4. James Joyner says:

    Tom: Sure. But NBC is only covering three hours of it, 90% of which will be speeches. In 2000, I’m pretty sure they put their “A” team on MSNBC and did a simulcast for the few hours where NBC proper aired coverage.

  5. Attila Girl says:

    “Skedded” was awful, and “competish” was worse.