A televised debate set for next month among the Democratic presidential candidates will be canceled due to the Hollywood writers’ strike, organizers said on Wednesday. No make-up will be rescheduled until after the writers are back at work.
CBS executives blamed CNN for the cancellation. “They’ve been having debates willy-nilly, using up all the scripted questions like a drunken sailor on shore leave. Now how are we supposed to ask softball questions to Hillary and ‘gotcha’ questions to the other candidates? We can’t be expected to come up with material on our own!”
CBS hinted that live candidate interviews may also become a problem. “We can still interview Hillary, since it’s her team that always provides us questions, but how are we supposed to interview those other guys? Like Barack Obama, and what’s-his-name, and that sleazy lawyer with the good hair? You can’t expect journalists to think up their own questions.”
For its part, CNN defended their use of the few remaining scripted questions in the public-driven, open-form debate. “Listen, we can’t be expected to put a lot of time and effort into finding actors and Hillary staffers to ask questions, then actually come up with questions ourselves. We had to use those scripted questions. And we don’t want to hear any more CBS complaints: we’re almost out of copy for our news.”
A spokesman for ABC said that the real problem was sloppy archiving of the other major networks. “We’re sitting pretty at ABC, where we’ve been recycling stories on the economy and the environment from the 1970’s. The only area where we suffer is sports, but fortunately we have a steady stream of inane content from ESPN to lean on.”
“What we’re really worried about,” said an NBC spokesman. “Is that without television to distract them, people might begin to read books or speak to each other. And I don’t think anybody wants that.”