NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - An Alabama TV station’s outage during a “60 Minutes” segment about the state’s former governor has stirred speculation that the blackout may have been politically motivated.
The lead item about former Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman wasn’t seen by viewers of WHNT-TV, a CBS affiliate in Huntsville, Ala. The station initially blamed the network, but said Monday there was a problem with its satellite receiver.
But the outage raised eyebrows in Alabama and elsewhere, with some bloggers claiming it was a deliberate attempt to keep the segment off the air.
“60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley’s piece focused on Siegelman’s conviction for corruption, which many question, and it included an interview with a Republican operative who said former Bush adviser Karl Rove asked her to take compromising pictures of Siegelman.
The station’s technical troubles began at 6 p.m. CST, when “60 Minutes” began, and lasted for 12 minutes. Pelley’s 13-minute report began about 6:05 p.m.
WHNT aired the piece during its 10 p.m. newscast Sunday, received permission from the network to air it in full in its 6 p.m. newscast Monday, and offered a link to the full story online.
“We regret that this happened at a very inopportune time,” the station said in a statement posted on its Web site. “Please accept our apology and please know that it was not intentional.”
WHNT couldn’t be reached for comment.
CBS seemed satisfied that there was no hanky-panky. Another CBS affiliate in Alabama, WAKA-TV in Montgomery, Ala., didn’t report any problems. Nor has CBS heard of any other stations with problems during the broadcast.