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January 7, 2019

TV networks don't exactly want to tune into President Trump's immigration ideas.

On Monday, Trump announced he'd be giving a Tuesday speech on what he called "the humanitarian and national security crisis on our southern border." But networks aren't too interested in giving up their prime time hour to air an unchallenged presidential manifesto, one TV executive tells CNN's Brian Stelter.

The government shutdown is now in its third week, and Trump still hasn't relented on his demand for $5 billion in border wall funding. He plans to make his case for the wall Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST, and requested the time slot from the four major networks: ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC, per The New York Times. They're currently "deliberating" over whether to give it to him, a network source tells Stelter.

"Networks don't automatically say yes when a president asks for airtime," Stelter tweeted. For example, when former President Barack Obama similarly asked to air an immigration reform address in 2014, major networks said no. The Trump factor makes the decision especially difficult, as one TV executive pointed out.

Beyond the political optics, networks also worry about losing ad spots they've already sold within their prime time slots. Such lucrative 9 p.m. shows as Ellen's Game of Games would be trumped, after all. Kathryn Krawczyk

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