Who dares preempt the biggest movie of all time? Not NBC, apparently.
The Drudge Report has come across a memo allegedly from NBC that instructed its broadcast affiliates not to interrupt this past Sunday's broadcast of Titanic for a speech from George W. Bush.
NBC had shelled out $30 million for the network broadcast rights to the biggest moneymaking movie of all time and apparently didn't want its thunder stolen by any "breaking news."
However, the network is now being criticized for breaking into prime-time programming the next night for a speech from Vice President Al Gore. Is it favoritism, or was the network just protecting the bottom line?
"We blew it on Sunday night," one source, who's identified only as a senior NBC staffer in Washington, D.C., told Matt Drudge. "We will not make that mistake again — sure, the perception is we favor Gore, we carried his speech, but not Governor Bush's speech. This was not a decision from NBC News. This came from the network president. Titanic cost a pretty penny, [and] the feeling was that carrying Bush would distract from the impact of the movie."
NBC did not immediately return calls to Mr. Showbiz.
While the NBC broadcast of the big boat epic captured the best 18-49 rating for any movie this season, more people overall tuned in to ABC to see The Santa Clause, starring Tim Allen. Ouch!
Guess the spectacle of watching Leonardo DiCaprio sketch a not-quite-nude Kate Winslet in an edited-for-TV format is about as exciting as watching a ballot recount.