President Bush will pre-empt ''Idol,'' ''24.'' Tuesday's contest and Wednesday's results show will be postponed one day because of the President's press conference

By Gary Susman
Updated April 13, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

Tuesday night’s American idol will be George W. Bush. The President’s announcement on Monday that he’d host a televised press conference at 8:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday sent network programmers grumbling and scrambling. Most affected was Fox, which decided to move Tuesday’s performance episode of ”American Idol” to Wednesday rather than interrupt the 8 p.m. broadcast halfway through. (The show, featuring guest judge Quentin Tarantino listening as the contestants sing movie music, will still be taped Tuesday.) In turn, Wednesday’s results episode will be pushed back to Thursday, where it’ll run for an hour and will face off against one of the last original episodes of ”Friends” on NBC. And Tuesday’s episode of ”24” will move to Sunday, where it’ll be competing against ABC’s ”Alias,” NBC’s ”Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” and HBO’s ”The Sopranos.”

CBS and ABC will be bumping reruns, but NBC had planned to air the season finale of ”Happy Family” at 8:30. Instead, that episode will move to April 20.

Presidential press conferences usually start at 9; according to Variety, no TV programming executive can remember such an odd and disruptive start time. ”What is Bush doing in the preceding half hour? It’s unbelievable,” Variety quotes one network exec as saying. Still, execs are probably relieved that Bush has scheduled just three impromptu primetime speeches during his presidency, so that viewers (and voters) aren’t likely to be distracted again anytime soon from the important business of deciding between Fantasia and La Toya.

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