Why ABC moved the Biden interview to air Friday night


When ABC News first secured its exclusive interview with President Joe Biden, the rollout plan was paint-by-numbers. But these are not normal times. So ABC accelerated its timing.

Anchor George Stephanopoulos is expected to interview Biden on Friday in Wisconsin, the president’s first extended interview with a major media network since his disastrous debate performance last week that has led many in the Democratic Party to question whether Biden should be the nominee. ABC had planned to release clips Friday evening, and the whole interview would air during Stephanopoulos’ Sunday morning show, “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”

Recognizing this extraordinary political moment, however, ABC had a change of heart. ABC News realized it would be uncomfortable to hold onto the interview for nearly two days, according to a source familiar with the matter. ABC may have been accused, fairly or not, of hiding something, and the news cycle is moving at a rapid pace.

A network source told CNN that because the story is of “national interest,” ABC decided to make it a “primetime special” to air the same day the interview is taking place. When ABC executives agreed to a time slot for the interview on Friday evening, they notified the White House and changed course, the source said.

The interview will air in its entirety on Friday evening at 8 pm ET, and a full transcript will be posted as well. The interview will be a critical opportunity for voters to be able to gauge Biden’s abilities in an unscripted, high-stakes setting. It’s not clear how long the interview will end up lasting, but ABC affiliates have it slated for a 30-minute special.

The stakes are high for Biden. At last week’s debate, hosted by CNN, Biden struggled to complete sentences at times and often looked lost as former President Donald Trump pumped out falsehoods, urgently raising questions about Biden’s age and ability to serve a second term.

But a lot is also riding on Stephanopoulos, who will be expected to pose tough questions to the president about his age, his abilities and the future of this election. Many will also be looking to see how Stephanopoulos, himself a former White House communications director under President Bill Clinton, approaches any questions about the White House team’s handling of communications around Biden’s age.

Leave a Reply

Verified by MonsterInsights