Obama's State of Union speech forces TV shuffle

Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:04pm EST
 
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By Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The White House on Monday set January 27 as the date for President Obama's latest State of the Union address, a relief to "Lost" groupies who had worried that a possible February 2 date would force the pre-emption of the ABC series' three-hour premiere.

Fox would be making the biggest move as the address faces its Wednesday edition of "American Idol" at 9 p.m. The network will likely air "Idol" at 8 p.m.

Rookie series "Human Target," which airs during the hour, still would air an original that week, probably behind the Tuesday "Idol," bumping "Kitchen Nightmares."

NBC is expected to stick with "Mercy" at 8 p.m., followed by coverage of the speech and news coverage from 9-11 p.m., preempting "Law & Order: SVU" and "The Jay Leno Show."

CBS was mulling its options: keeping its Wednesday comedy block at 8 p.m. or possibly moving one of its high-rated crime dramas, "Criminal Minds" or "CSI: NY," into the 8 p.m. slot. (The network has done that in the past with "CSI: NY.")

ABC probably will air a pair of its three Wednesday comedies, with family-friendly "The Middle" and "Modern Family" leading contenders, leading into political coverage.

But at least it does not have to worry about a "Lost" calamity. The White House, which had previously floated January 26 and February 2 as possible address dates. recently took the unusual step of reassuring fans through spokesman Robert Gibbs that Obama would not interfere with the show's season opener.