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Cable Coverage of the Inaugural

By: Paul Rodriquez, Cable Tech Talk

As Washington, D.C. prepares for the historic inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama next week, cable has stepped up with a host of events and coverage. Naturally, you’ll get wall-to-wall coverage from such news and public affairs stalwarts as C-SPAN, Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN. My colleague Helen Dimsdale offers a look at some coverage from other cable networks.

BET Networks has stepped out in style, hosting several private events in D.C. and offering televised coverage on this historic inauguration.  BET Networks kicks-off the festivities on Saturday with The BET Honors at the Warner Theater in Washington, D.C.  The BET Honors will be hosted by actress Gabrielle Union and will honor the accomplishments of Tyler Perry, May J. Blige, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, B. Smith, Judith Jamison and Congressman James E. Clyburn.  You’ll have a front row seat at the Honors with special performances by Queen Latifah, Ne-Yo, Anthony Hamilton, Anita Baker, Monica, Joss Stone, Yolanda Adams, and the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater.  The show will premiere on BET on Monday, 2/9 at 9:00 p.m. (ET).

On Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. (ET) Nick Cannon will host Yes We Will: The BET Inauguration Celebration, a one-hour special commemorating this historic day along with performances by Chicago’s own Common and Grammy Award-nominated Jazmine Sullivan.  Other celebs in-town to participate include:  Terrence Howard, Samuel L. Jackson, and Hill Harper.  Viewers will also see live shots from the Mandarin Oriental hotel of BET’s Inaugural Ball.  Their first-ever Inaugural Ball will be held in partnership with America’s Promise Alliance, the nation’s largest non-profit alliance dedicated to the well-being of children and youth,  founded by General Colin and Alma Powell, with a special performance by Wyclef Jean.  BET news will provide in-depth coverage of the Inauguration Swearing-In Ceremony and Parade. You can find more BET Inauguration Day coverage here.

MTV and ServiceNation present Be the Change Inauguration Ball at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center on Tuesday.  MTV will carry live coverage and feature additional artists and political commentary.  All coverage will be streamed at

On Monday night, Disney Channel will undoubtedly brighten the hearts of Sasha and Malia, as well as other young people, with Kids Inaugural: We Are the Future, a concert special hosted by Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, and featuring performances from Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato, among others.

HBO presents We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial with President-Elect Barack Obama and such guests as Jack Black, Steve Carell, Rosario Dawson, Jamie Foxx, Tom Hanks, Martin Luther King, III, Queen Latifah, Laura Linney, Denzel Washington and more.  Special performances by Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, Jon Bon Jovi, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Renée Fleming, Josh Groban, Herbie Hancock, Heather Headley, Bettye Lavette, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, John Mellencamp, Pete Seeger, Shakira, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, U2, Usher,, and Stevie Wonder.  HBO will air the event live on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. (ET) / 11:30 a.m. (PT) with an encore play at 7:00 p.m. (ET/PT) and 11:30 p.m. (ET/PT)  For those who don’t subscribe to HBO, you can watch it at  Comcast is offering its digital cable customers free access to the Opening Ceremony regardless of whether you subscribe to HBO.

Speaking of Comcast, Comcast Central’s interactive news channel will showcase five windows of rotating, live feeds from the major national cable news networks – CNBC, CNN, CNN Headline News, C-SPAN, FOX News and MSNBC – simultaneously in one place. A sixth window will highlight previous Obama speeches and link viewers to the “Barack Obama” On Demand folder.

On Demand provides a convenient place for the whole family to watch some of the President-elect’s major speeches and at the same time learn more about the White House and its newest residents. On Demand programming includes:

  • Barack Obama’s inaugural address
  • Barack Obama’s most famous speeches to date - from his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 through his election night victory speech in Grant Park
  • Barack Obama biography
  • Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic National Convention speech
  • A tour of the White House
  • The history of Air Force One

If you can’t make it to D.C. next Tuesday, cable television will help you catch every moment of the festivities.


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