The Obama campaign wanted to buy a half hour of broadcast prime-time at 8pm Wednesday across CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox (no love for the CW!). CBS and NBC agreed nearly immediately, Fox agreed once it got the agreement of Major League Baseball to postpone the beginning of a potential World Series game
6 (now as it turns out, game 5.5), but ABC didn't want to disrupt its already struggling Wednesday night line up, so it initially refused and offered the Obama campaign different airdates/times.
However, as Lisa de Moraes at the Washington Post reports, the Obama campaign wanted to create what's called a "roadblock" across broadcast TV, which is when all broadcast networks simultaneously air the same program, so other ABC dates/times were not interesting to them. Although, looking at the numbers, a broadcast TV "roadblock" isn't quite as imposing today when only about 50% of prime-time viewing is on the broadcast networks as it was 30 years ago when the broadcast share was 90%.
As it turns out, ABC waited too long, and once it agreed to sell the time, the Obama campaign wasn't interested. Attempting to make lemonade from these lemons, ABC hopes it can take advantage of the unique political counter-programming opportunity and boost the fortunes of the pummeled Pushing Daisies. ABC has begun using the promotional ad ""Wednesday you have a choice -- get political with the other networks or watch a new episode of "Pushing Daisies".
Or you could watch cable.
Update: But not MSNBC if you don't want to watch politics, the Obama ad will air there as well.
Update #2: But you could watch CNN, which turned down the Obama 30 min ad show buy, or Fox News who wasn't asked.
Update #3: Univision, BET and TV One are also carrying Obama's paid half-hour TV address.