HBO lands rights to inaugural ceremony

Tue Jan 6, 2009 9:55pm EST
 
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By Paul J. Gough

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - HBO has snagged the exclusive telecast rights to the opening ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration week.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee said Tuesday that HBO will televise the ceremony, in which Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden, will attend at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the afternoon of Sunday, January 18. It will be closed to other media but HBO will offer it for free not just on the Time Warner-owned channel but throughout all of cable and satellite. It may also be streamed, sources said.

It's not the inauguration itself, which will happen two days later at noon from the Capitol Hill and will be covered by all the broadcast and cable news channels. But it's the opening of what will be a historic week for the nation's Capitol.

HBO has a history of paying big bucks for the event. In 1993, it paid $1.5 million to televise the same event for the first Clinton administration. It featured a lot of entertainment but appeared only on HBO. It wasn't clear what HBO paid this time around.

A number of Hollywood and musical personalities will perform at the event, though they haven't been announced yet.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

 
<p>Workers construct the reviewing stand which will be used by President-elect Barack Obama and other dignitaries to view his inauguration parade on January 20, 2009, outside the White House in Washington November 18, 2008. REUTERS/Jason Reed</p>