How the Mueller testimony will affect broadcast TV schedules

With its relatively early start time — the 8 a.m. eastern hour — Robert Mueller’s Congressional testimony caused some interesting scheduling conflicts for the networks July 24, 2019.

  • On the east coast, the start time hit right in the middle of the big three networks’ morning broadcasts.
  • In most markets, the morning broadcasts are aired either live or live to tape, with the broadcasts starting at 7 a.m. local time.
  • Because of this, viewers in central time zone markets that carry the network morning newscast at 7 a.m. local time saw only a small portion of the broadcast.

In many cases, even when the network breaks in during the live feed of morning shows, it will continue to produce its morning shows so a full version is available for markets that air it on tape delay.

  • This is done because the special reports may be only a few minutes long and generally air live across the country, so stations in the central, mountain and Pacific time zones may be able to air the complete taped broadcast without the special report cut in.
  • In some cases, the networks will produce live updates for other time zones for breaking news or, particularly with the central time zone, local stations may join the morning newscasts in progress instead of a tape delayed version.
  • This means these viewers see the show starting with what is actually the second, 8 a.m. eastern hour.
  • However, given that Mueller’s testimony is slated for five hours, it’s not immediately clear if any U.S. stations will end up having time to air the full version of the morning shows.
  • Some network morning shows are also carried on international channels either live or from tape, which may or may not carry Mueller testimony in its entirety, so this could require networks to produce full versions of its morning news.

The major cable news channels are generally carried live across the country.

  • This means that networks such as CNN and MSNBC will not air regularly scheduled programming at all today.
  • However, in some cases, if a program is broadcast on delay or rerun later in the day or another network, a new edition may still be produced.
  • In these cases, “live” viewers won’t see the show at its normal time, but it may appear on schedules at other times.

The testimony, which is scheduled to go into the afternoon on the east coast, will likely also displace regularly scheduled morning and daytime programming such as talk and game shows, soap operas and popular syndicate fare such as court and game shows.