NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - CBS News' unlucky streak
when it comes to scheduling primary debates may be continuing
into the general election.
The network tentatively agreed to produce and air on
Monday, August 11, a televised town hall meeting in primetime
between GOP candidate John McCain and his Democratic rival,
Barack Obama. But there's only one problem: Obama hasn't
committed, citing scheduling issues. That has thrown into doubt
the whole thing.
The McCain campaign has readily agreed to appear at the
forum on military and veterans issues sponsored by a number of
organizations, but that's not going to be enough to allow CBS
to televise it. Both candidates would have to participate for
the network to carry it.
And the organizers -- a group of national organizations
that help active-duty military, veterans and the survivors of
military personnel killed -- say they want to hear from both
candidates, not just one.
"The important thing for us is that this happens, and that
there's this focus on military and veterans and their families
and the legacy of war," said Amy Fairweather of the San
Francisco-based Swords to Plowshares, one of the organizers.
"If that means that things have to be changed as far as the
date or logistics or the format or anything like that, that's
CBS News said on Monday there was nothing new to report on
the issue. It isn't clear whether CBS will be able to clear a
space on another night if both candidates are able to agree.
The 2008 Fort Hood Presidential Town Hall Consortium was to be
held at the Bell County Expo Center in Belton, Texas, near the
The network had been approached by the organizers of the
forum to see if it was interested in carrying it live in
primetime. The network responded that it would and cleared the
primetime for that night.
CBS was the only network news division that was unable to
assemble a debate of presidential candidates during this
primary season. It tried several times but couldn't air a
December Democratic debate in Los Angeles because of the
Hollywood writers strike, and one earlier this year in North
Carolina was scrapped after Obama wouldn't agree to the day