Date: 5th September 2000

CBS, ABC Reject Bush Debate Plan

CBS and ABC have rejected George Bush's plan for presidential debates that calls for him to appear with Al Gore on CNN's Larry King Live and NBC's Meet the Press, the New York Times reported today (Tuesday). Gore has also rejected the proposal.

CBS News president Andrew Heyward told the Times, "I think that it might be in the interest of some of the parties involved to call them debates, but these are basically versions of existing talk shows, and we don't normally air other people's talk shows."

Employing almost the same terms, Paul Friedman, executive vice president of ABC News, remarked: "It's very unlikely we would cover other networks' programs, and that is essentially what they are."

However, an unnamed top official of the Bush campaign told the Times: "I do suspect that if Al Gore were to show up on Meet the Press with Bush, all the networks, with their dedication to public service, would be hard-pressed not to cover it."

Source: Studio Briefing