Bigger than Barack: Boyle forces President to move speech

TV network prioritised reality show over White House news conference

Whatever happens next to Scotland's ballad-belting Susan Boyle, at least she can say this about herself: when it came to a television scheduling showdown against the most popular leader of the free world in recent memory, she won fair and square. No second-place fade-outs for the Britain's Got Talent sensation this time.

The unlikely collision of spinster-songstress and commander-in-chief came about when the White House determined it was time for Barack Obama to hold his fourth prime-time news conference since coming to office. His healthcare reform push is looking a bit peaky and a direct appeal to the people was warranted.

Normally, the four broadcast networks in America bow to such requests without much fuss, particularly in the summer months when their schedules are all re-runs and reality shows. But not this time. Fox, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, instantly refused to air the conference. Of course, it did that last time too. But signs that relations between the broadcasters and the Obama administration are fraying further became more obvious when NBC also balked.

Startled by the resistance, which comes at a time when Mr Obama's own ratings are starting to slide, the White House blinked and agreed to shift the conference one hour forward to 8pm, even though it meant the President would be going on air when Californian voters were still commuting home.

The problem for NBC was that the 9pm was the one it had saved for America's Got Talent, which follows the same format as its British equivalent. And more importantly, this episode was to feature an exclusive interview with Boyle. She was the network's secret weapon to compete with the reality shows on the competing channels, including the likes of So You Think You Can Dance and I Survived a Japanese Game Show.

No one at the White House has any intention of admitting that Mr Obama saw Boyle in his headlights and swerved. "In speaking with various media outlets, we found that rescheduling for one hour earlier would help us to arrange for as many Americans as possible to hear directly from the President at the press conference," one official said, and that was the closest anyone got to blaming the new singing star for the time change.

Boyle may be a top property for NBC this summer, if only because of all the speculation about her state of mind in the wake of her second-place disappointment in the final of Britain's Got Talent. She vanished from the airwaves and cancelled several commitments that had been made when she appeared to be on track to win.

Small segments of the interview already aired on the NBC's breakfast show reveal a mildly made-over Boyle, with a hair-do that appears considerably less unruly than its predecessor. She admits to the interviewer that she "brushes up quite well".

She also expounds on the shock to the system that her sudden fame this spring had brought. "It's a lot like a giant demolition ball," Boyle, 48, reflects. "The impact – like a demolition ball. And anyone who has that kind of impact finds it really hard to get a head around it.

"I've got to be honest here. I guess I had to get my head around it, but through the guidance of a great team – and they are very good – I was able to see that in perspective and really turn that around a little."

For the rest of what she says, America must wait until this evening. But evidently the suits at NBC are gambling that it will be more interesting than what Mr Obama has to say about doctors, hospitals and the medical insurance industry. It may be time for a new presidential hairstyle.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Cambridge / London - £47,000

£40000 - £47000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing ...

Sauce Recruitment: Sales Executive - Consumer Exhibition - 12 month Fixed Term Con

£20000 - £22000 per annum + up to £22K + commission : Sauce Recruitment: The ...

Sauce Recruitment: Senior Sales Executive - Premium Food and Drink Events

£24000 - £26000 per annum + up to £26K + team commission: Sauce Recruitment: H...

Sauce Recruitment: Financial Planning & Analysis Analyst (FP&A)- Entertainment

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A major film studio are looking ...

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms