HBO to Air 'Updated Version' of Sunday's Concert Tomorrow
HBO says it will telecast “an updated version” of Sunday’s inaugural-related concert tomorrow (Wednesday) at 11:30 p.m. Eastern and Pacific time,
By “updated,” the premium cable network means it will include the invocation that had been delivered by the Rev. V. Gene Robinson, the openly gay New Hampshire Episcopal bishop, at the ceremony’s start.
HBO’s Sunday telecast had not included the invocation and the premium telecast had exclusive TV rights to the event, which meant no one watching the concert on TV saw the invocation. They did catch celebrities like Denzel Washington, Tom Hanks, Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, and Garth Brooks. Obama addressed the crowd near the end of the bash.
HBO had opened up its Sunday concert telecast to non-paying members; tomorrow’s re-telecast is available to subscribers only.
Some of those who were actually at the Sunday concert, also did not hear Rev. Robinson’s invocation. Post journalists indicated spotty performance from the jumbotrons, with some sound kicking in a bit after the start and some failing until 85 percent of the way through of Robinson's address.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee put that number at “tens of thousands” when it took the blame for the exclusion:
“We had always intended and planned for Rt. Rev Robinson’s invocation to be included in the televised portion of yesterday’s program. We regret the error in executing this plan – but are gratified that hundreds of thousands of people who gathered on the mall heart his eloquent prayer for our nation that was a fitting start to our event.”
HBO, which reportedly paid about $2 million for exclusive rights to the concert, says it had not been involved in any talks regarding whether the invocation would be part of the concert. The cable net explained it had licensed the rights to show the event, live, starting at 2:30 p.m. ET and carrying everything unedited until it wrapped at 4:30 p.m. ET.
“ Rev Robinson spoke at 2:20pm which was part of a pre-show,” HBO said, adding “it is ironic that he wasn't in our telecast as the whole show conveyed a message of unity and inclusion. He would have fit in perfectly.”
Robinson was asked to give the invocation to the Sunday event after he and other gay rights advocates objected to Obama’s selection of preacher Rick Warren to give the invocation at today’s inauguration. Warren had been among those supporting Prop 8 in California, which overturned gay marriage in the state.
The inaugural committee also promised yesterday that the entire Sunday event, including Robinson's invocation, would be aired on the screens set up along the National Mall today.
By Lisa de Moraes
David A Nakamura
January 20, 2009; 3:19 PM ET
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