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When Presidents Talk Broadcasters Get Hurt

Producers of ABC's workplace comedy "Better off Ted" -- set at the morally-challenged mega-corporation Veridian Dynamics -- made this Public Service Announcement after learning their show would be preempted last night so ABC could carry President Obama's news conference. Broadcasters weren't entirely happy about the fourth primetime appearance of Obamavision in three months, noting it would cost the broadcast TV industry about $10 million to turn over the hour to Obama. The White House had requested the time Wednesday, which marked Obama's 100th day in office, so they could take control of the inevitable first-100-days-in-office news-cycle blather.

Based on early stats, it appears the news conference attracted about 20 million viewers at 8 p.m. Wednesday on ABC, CBS and NBC. The Fox broadcast network chose not to air the news conference, instead airing its new drama series "Lie to Me." Ratings for Obama's news conference on various cable networks will be available later today.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  April 30, 2009; 1:44 AM ET
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