Tonight marks the 100th day of President Obama's administration, which means another primetime news conference, something that seems to be a hallmark of this administration.
You'll be able to catch the news conference on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and various cable news outlets.
Fox, however, is bucking the trend and will air a new episode of "Lie To Me" at 8 p.m., followed by a new "American Idol."
The decision for Fox seems to be based on economics: We're in the sweeps period right now, so ratings are critical, especially for a new show like "Lie To Me." In addition, if Obama runs over, it would cut into "Idol," Fox's No. 1-rated show.
Fox is taking the position I've noted in the past, that the news conference will be available to anyone who wants to watch on a variety of networks.
For me, this isn't a dig at Obama. I've made the same point during the Bush Administration: Why does a news conference need to be televised on every network? I'm not arguing it shouldn't be televised -- clearly when a president speaks, it's newsworthy.
And clearly, it needs to be carried on at least one network, since not everyone gets cable or satellite TV. But all four? (CW doesn't have a news outlet). It seems excessive.
The President is shot from the same camera angle with the same sound and lighting from each network. So, if you flip the channels, it's the exact same thing. The White House usually does a good job keeping the thing within its allotted time slot, so it's not as if you can hear the network's pundits comment on what was discussed. (And if you want commentary, you are likely watching CNN, Fox News or MSNBC anyway).
The other three networks are taking a huge financial hit not airing original programming right now, and in these economic times, it's a big hit. Depending how the networks reshuffle their lineups, it could mean some of the shows being bumped may not air during sweeps.
The previous news conferences were one of the reasons why Fox has reshuffled its lineup so much over the past few weeks, showing "Bones" at various timeslots over different nights.
The solution is simple. Simply designate one network to carry the news conference each time, and then rotate it around. That way, no one network is obligated to lose millions in advertising each time there's a news conference. If the story is big enough and the other networks want to carry it, then they have the option to do so. But otherwise, let ABC carry the first one, CBS the next one, etc.
Will Fox's gambit pay off? It will be interesting to see if they pick up a few extra viewers who may be worn out from politics. On the other hand, the always-conservative leaning Fox may look like it's dissing Obama and may draw criticism.
Anyway, that will comprise the bulk of early programming tonight.
WEDNESDAY'S BEST BETS: I sure as heck hope the Obama press conference is confined to an hour, because tonight marks the 100th episode of "Lost" (ABC, 9 p.m.) This is a Farady-centric episode in which he explains more about the confines of time travel, so you may want to watch it with a couple of aspirin handy. It's followed by a new "Unusuals" at 10 p.m.
Former "Moonlight" star Alex O'Laughlin guest stars on tonight's "Criminal Minds" (CBS, 9 p.m.), followed by a new "CSI: NY" at 10 p.m.
NBC airs a new "Law & Order" at 10 p.m.