You’re a TV network boss. You run a multibillion-dollar enterprise that relies on viewer interest in the programming you present.
Then you hear that the U.S. House Oversight Committee is going to summon Donald Trump’s former lawyer/fixer to testify about the role he played in the president’s myriad activities relating to (a) the Russian government, (b) his alleged relationships with an adult film actress and a Playboy model and (c) other matters that have dogged his presidency.
What do you do? The Feb. 7 hearing might be a ratings blockbuster. Or, it might be a dud. Do you preempt your regular programming to show this testimony live? If I were in that place, I’d go with televising the hearing.
Michael Cohen is facing a three-year prison term after pleading guilty to campaign violations and assorted other felonies. He says he’s done lying to protect the president. He has been working with special counsel Robert Mueller’s legal team as it investigates alleged “collusion” with Russian operatives who interfered with the 2016 presidential election. Cohen might want to spill every bean in the bag in order to get a sentence reduction.
This hearing has the potential of turning the presidency of Donald Trump on its head. A lot of Americans have a keen interest in the future of this man’s presidency. His supporters want him to shake off the questions once and for all. The president’s detractors want, well, a vastly different outcome.
Michael Cohen’s testimony might be the proverbial game-changer. Or, it might not change a single thing.
If you are a network TV exec, you ought to gamble on the former.
I intend to clear the decks on Feb. 7.