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Impeachment trial not ready for prime time television

NEW YORK  — The first night of arguments in favor of President Donald Trump’s impeachment before the U.S. Senate was judged not ready for prime time by many of the nation’s television executives.

ABC, CBS and NBC all stuck with regularly scheduled programs like “Chicago Med,” “Criminal Minds” and “Modern Family” on Wednesday evening instead of showing the House managers’ evening session at the impeachment trial. That lasted about two hours, 15 minutes.

CNN and MSNBC carried the trial in full. Fox News Channel, after showing Rep. Adam Schiff speak for about a half hour, interrupted for a story about a child support case involving former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, and never returned.

Even two PBS stations in the New York area showed science programming and “Antiques Roadshow” instead of the trial Wednesday evening. PBS said it gave its local stations the option to show the trial or not.

The calls Wednesday night are significant because if the top networks decided not to pre-empt programming on the first full night the case against Trump was laid out, chances are they won’t reverse course later unless the unexpected happens.

Daytime was an intriguing contrast, since the top three broadcasters and cable news outlets all carried Schiff’s initial stand at the podium, which lasted more than two hours.

It was rare for anyone in today’s media world to command full television attention to that extent. The Senate’s rules for the trial, which required using a single camera on the speaker and didn’t allow reaction shots of senators, only served to accentuate Schiff’s message.

Meanwhile, Trump was setting a record for sending out the most tweets in a single day since he’s been president.

For the television networks, however, prime time is a different animal altogether, with more viewers and advertising revenue available.

After pulling away from House managers Wednesday

Article source: https://www.newburyportnews.com/news/national_news/impeachment-trial-not-ready-for-prime-time-television/article_f4f6e3fc-8c27-56cd-9bdb-8a57f1ca7c2c.html

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