One group that may need a stimulus package soon is the networks, since they are sure to be losing a chunk of money over the next three weeks, thanks to three primetime addresses by President Obama.
The first took place last night and the next is scheduled for Monday. The third, Obama's address to Congress, will be Feb. 24.
Only the last of the three speeches was planned for by the networks. The other two came about late in the game as Obama met with the press to discuss his stimulus package.
But eating into the networks during Monday primetime could prove costly. Lisa de Moraes of the Washington Post said Fox could lose about $3 million in ad revenue from pre-empting "House" once -- and the network will have to do so again this coming Monday. Though the other networks aren't airing shows that are has highly rated as "House," Monday night is a pretty lucrative night.
The lone benefit for the networks is that this isn't sweeps time as it normally is. Sweeps have been pushed back to March because of the DTV switch that was scheduled for Feb. 17 -- and has been since moved back to June 12 at Obama's urging.
The Post article indicated that last night's press conference alone cost the networks $9 million in ad revenue. Some of the network suits quoted in the article are worried that with three prime-time addresses in his first month in office, Obama could be setting up a trend over the next four years.
As I argued when President Bush was in office, I'm not sure why all of the networks must broadcast what is the same thing. Certainly, no one is arguing that any President's press conference shouldn't be carried, but is it necessary on every channel? Isn't this one of the roles of PBS?
The fact is, not everyone is interested in every press conference, and their should be some choices, especially in these economic times. It wouldn't have been so irksome if the whole press conference last night had been dedicated to the economy, but Obama declined to get into details about the stimulus plan, leaving it for the Treasury Secretary today. And reporters were shooting off into various topics, such as whether there were nukes in the Middle East and what Obama thought of Alex Rodriguez's confession to taking steroids.
Again, I realize the need to address the American public, but perhaps we don't need to be addressed quite so often.
ESPN SCORES BIG: As much as I like to bash the piss-poor "journalism" practiced by ESPN, Peter Gammons proved once again why he is one of the top baseball reporters out there. Gammons was insightful and direct in talking to A-Rod (sorry, A-Fraud) about his confession that he took steroids while playing in Texas.
Of course, A-Rod has very little credibility left. It wasn't too long ago that he declared on "60 Minutes" he had never taken them. Now he's saying he took them, but only for three years and only because he was young and everybody was doing it. (Never mind the fact that he had about seven years under his belt when he signed with the Rangers).
ESPN's post interview comments were very interesting, and when I find myself actually agreeing with Stephen A. Smith for the first time ever, you can guess A-Rod is forever tarnished by this.
TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: Fox may have lost new episodes of "House" this week and next week, but at least it has a new "American Idol" at 8 p.m. to make up some of those revenues, especially since the ratings on "Fringe" at 9 p.m. continue to climb.
"NCIS" (CBS, 8 p.m.) is back after a week off, as are "The Mentalist" and "Without A Trace."
Two new episodes of "Scrubs" (ABC, 9 p.m.) follow two "Peanuts" Valentine classics at 8 p.m.
NBC has "The Biggest Loser" at 8 p.m., followed by a new "Law & Order: SVU" at 10 p.m.
The CW returns with new episodes of "90210" and "Privileged."
On cable, "Nip/Tuck" (FX, 10 p.m.) is new. "Star Trek" fans can rejoice with tonight's "Leverage," which guest stars Brent Spiner and Armin Shimerman and is directed by Jonathan Frakes.