The President of the United States is due a certain amount of deference when it comes to television appearances — and everything else, really — but Barack Obama has a habit of inadvertently big-footing his way on the tube. Take, for instance, his impromptu press conference to announce the death of Osama bin Laden: he went live with his speech just as Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice finale was nearing its climax on the east coast. Obviously that was a coincidence, but it’s far from the only time POTUS has frustrated the networks.
Fans of The Bachelorette were just about to see Constantine bail on Ashley when the president interrupted to talk about the debt ceiling last July. A Cougar Town episode was postponed when the prez’s January 2011 speech about the Tucson shootings ran long. And Bones nearly had to scrap its 2009 season finale because of one of the president’s early state-of-the-economy chats.
But now, he’s simply gone too far! President Obama is scheduled to accept the Democratic nomination for a second term on Sept. 6 — the same night as MTV’s Video Music Awards. It’s a total bummer for MTV, whose 2011 VMAs was watched by a record 12.4 million viewers. They likely won’t hit that mark this year with the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte potentially drawing nearly 40 million people to hear Obama and other noted Dems speak.
As a result, MTV is moving up the start-time of its live awards show, from 9 to 8 p.m., to limit overlap, so they might be safe as long as the president doesn’t take the stage before 10 p.m. In 2008, Obama began speaking around 10 p.m. ET, so in theory, the network should be safe. But the prez works in mysterious ways: If he’s Machiavellian enough to use his presidential showcase to settle old scores with that “jackass” Kanye West, who famously ruined Friend of Obama Taylor Swift’s VMA acceptance speech, all bets are off. Keep Kanye off the stage, MTV — less you want to be Trumped.