An Ol' Broad's Ramblings
While Fred Thompson’s “Law & Order” character disappears from NBC starting Saturday because of concerns over federal equal time provisions, cable viewers will still have plenty of opportunities to see his District Attorney Arthur Branch.
TNT will air 23 episodes of the drama next week alone, apparently unworried about limiting Branch’s airplay even as the Tennessee Republican plans to announce his presidential candidacy.
“TNT has no plans to alter its schedule,” spokeswoman Shirley Powell said, a stance that could provoke a fight in the courts or before the Federal Communications Commission.
Equal time rules require TV stations to provide the same airtime to opponents when a candidate appears on the air. The many exceptions _ news shows, talk shows, interviews, documentaries _ essentially mean the rules apply to entertainment programming.
Thompson’s expected post-Labor Day entrance into the race triggered NBC’s decision to stop airing “Law & Order” reruns featuring him starting Sept. 1. Next week Thompson will essentially shift time slots on NBC: The “Tonight” show announced said that he will appear as a guest with Jay Leno on Thursday.
Well, that answers my question. And Mr. Ol’ Broad, being the big “Law and Order” rerun fan, will be happy to know his favorite “seen ‘em all, don’t have to pay attention” show will continue.