There’s nothing new about a U.S. president using some primetime real estate to announce a Supreme Court nominee. When Sandra Day O’Connor stepped down in 2005, George W. Bush introduced his pick to succeed Justice O’Connor, John Roberts, in a press conference televised during evening hours. But the first woman to sit on the highest court in the land had the decency to retire during the summer, when President Bush’s announcement only risked preempting sitcom reruns and replacement programming like Fire Me… Please, a CBS reality competition in which contestants raced to be the first one fired from a new job.
Speaking of someone racing to be fired from his job: Current president/subject of hilarious butt-related Photoshop jobs Donald Trump is due to announce his own Supreme Court nominee at 8 p.m. Eastern tomorrow, a time when TV viewers might otherwise be settling in to watch The Flash, CBS’ countdown of the Super Bowl’s greatest commercials, or (take some time to appreciate this one) NBC’s game show The Wall. As Deadline reports, this move has left network programmers “scrambling” to preempt their regularly scheduled programming to cover an announcement that was originally scheduled for Thursday evening, before the president moved it up (in the words of shitty reader Sean Spicer) “because he wanted to.” To be fair, “because he wanted to” is proving the be the one, non-Steve Bannon driving force behind the Trump presidency.
Also: Making the announcement on Thursday would’ve preempted a new episode of The Big Bang Theory, meaning Trump, a man pathologically obsessed with Nielsen ratings, couldn’t crow about his puffed-up numbers besting one of the top-rated shows on broadcast TV. Instead, he’ll just go toe-to-toe with repeats of two other primetime heavyweights, NCIS and This Is Us, in what’s sure to mark the first example of the TV press hoping that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service gives a competitor a drubbing in the ratings.