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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

By David A Nakamura  |  January 20, 2009; 3:19 PM ET  | Category:  Entertainment
Previous: Seen in the Crowd: Michelle Rhee and Kevin Johnson | Next: The Parade Begins

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I think that's sucky that they sold the rights to a concert at a national monument to a premium channel.

Supposedly it was available to everyone on Sunday, but it didn't work for us.

I'm gonna demand my part of the taxes tha support that momument back!

Posted by: RedBird27 | January 20, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Coverage on my Verizon FIOS cut off about 10 minutes before it was scheduled to complete. Beyonce was just about to begin.

Posted by: sitruc | January 20, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

"tomorrow’s re-telecast is available to subscribers only." Nice HBO. I canceled my subscription on Monday in protest. Guess I'll have to get the show off a torrent.

HBO = Hardly Being Objective.

Everyone needs to CANCEL their HBO subscription until that make things right.

Posted by: chadhenson | January 20, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Oops -- I should have said:

Everyone needs to CANCEL their HBO subscription until THEY (HBO) makes things right.

PS -- I used to like HBO, until Sunday. It's now up to them to get my business back.

Not a good start, folks.

Posted by: chadhenson | January 20, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Notice that they fawned all over "singers" like Beyonce, and gave MAYBE a little passing blip to one of the BEST voices of the past century AND this one, Pete Seeger. My wife and I won't be able to see Bishop Robinson unless we can get the vcr to work by tomorrow nite.

Posted by: Alex511 | January 21, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Don't blame HBO. The Presidential Inaugural Committee is completely to blame for Bishop Robinson's TV exclusion. The PIC, instead of being transparent and inclusive and devoted to equality, chose to play dirty politics, pander the right-wing, and leave the gay preacher off the air. Then they apologized for their deliberate malicious act. Was this bit of homophobic nastiness beyond Obama's view? We'll soon see.

Posted by: purplesax | January 21, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I’m glad I didn’t have to watch some gay bishop praying. I’m sure that Obama and his team knew that most Americans would find it revolting. I wasn’t an HBO subscriber before but I will be now.

Posted by: laurenbran | January 21, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Some of you who are blaming this on HBO obviously don't get the TV industry.

HBO got a specific allotment of time to simply BROADCAST the show. 2:30 eastern to 4:30. In that block of time, it's up to the Presidential Inaugural Committee to determine who speaks/performs when and for how long. It was up to the PIC to say hey, let's put the reverend at 2:20pm eastern.

In essence, HBO is correcting the Inaugural Committee's ignorance toward the matter by shifting their schedule around to re-broadcast the show to include an extra 10 minutes of Rev. Robinson speaking

Already played yesterday, but they also added it this weekend.

Taken from the press release:

The new version will also be seen this weekend on the main HBO channel and on HBO Latino, on SATURDAY, JAN. 24 (6:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT) and SUNDAY, JAN. 25 (3:30 p.m. ET/PT).

It will also be available on hbo.com starting Wednesday, Jan. 21

Posted by: JDT16 | January 22, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

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