This just in . . .
Major League Baseball has agreed to postpone the first pitch of Game 6 of the World Series by about 15 minutes in order to enable Fox to join CBS and NBC in running Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's 30-minute infomercial Oct. 29.
That leaves only ABC among the major broadcast networks still undecided as to whether it will let Obama's campaign buy the 8 p.m. half-hour slot on its prime-time schedule.
"Fox will accommodate Senator Obama's desire to communicate with voters in this longform format," the network said in a statement." We are pleased that Major League Baseball has agreed to delay the first pitch of World Series Game 6 for a few minutes in order for Fox to carry his program on Oct. 29. If requested, the network would be willing to make similar time available to Senator McCain's campaign."
Fox is contractually obligated to carry the game if this year's Series comes to that.
Obama's campaign is ponying up something just shy of $2 million to buy the half-hour on NBC and CBS -- less than $1 million per network in compliance; it was expected the camp would pay a similar amount to Fox. That's considerably less than NBC and CBS would otherwise get for the 10 or 11 ad "units" they run during that half-hour. But Obama is not getting a price break; the campaign will be charged what's called the "lowest unit cost" in compliance with federal law.
ABC and Obama's camp are still in talks about whether the network will make available the timeslot, which would enable the candidate to create a so-called "roadblock" on the broadcast networks.
With the broadcast networks these days only accounting for about half the audience watching TV at any given time, it's a less dramatic programming stunt than a decade or so ago, but pretty dramatic nonetheless.
ABC has scheduled an episode of its struggling dramedy series "Pushing Daisies" in the 8 p.m. hour that night. The show is one of last year's freshman series hurt by the 100-day writers' strike; ABC is trying to re-launch it this fall, but so far without much luck. ABC execs may believe there is opportunity for "Daisies" to get more sampling Oct. 29 if the network does not join in the Obama buy, particularly now that Game 6 would not start until 8:35 p.m. -- more than halfway through the "Daisies" broadcast.
Not coincidentally, Oct. 29 is just six days before the election and the anniversary of Black Tuesday in 1929 -- the notorious day that heralded the start of the Great Depression. (By Lisa de Moraes, The Washington Post)