But the response by Democrats will be carried by only NBC and CBS tonight. ABC decided to follow the President's message in most time zones with "Dynasty," its most popular show, and to delay the Democrats' 30-minute "alternative view" until Thursday night.
CBS will fill the two-hour time slot tonight with the Reagan speech, the Democrats' response, analysis and a 30-minute sitcom, "Alice." NBC will fill the two-hour block with the President's speech, the Democrats' response and analysis.
L.A. Station Can't Carry Response
On the West Coast, where the political broadcasts will not conflict with prime time, ABC-owned-and-operated KABC in Los Angeles and KGO in San Francisco asked permission to show the Democratic response tonight, but the network rejected the request.
When asked why ABC was delaying the Democratic message, Tom Mackin, ABC's director of program information, said: "It is incumbent on us to offer the opposition party an opportunity for a timely response, and we have done so." ABC executives refused to discuss their reasoning.
The decision does not sit well with the Democrats.
"ABC has chosen 'Dynasty' over democracy," said Christopher J. Matthews, administrative assistant to House Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill Jr. of Massachusetts. "We're offering our alternative view to the state of the union. Why is the President's speech newsworthy and the Democrats' isn't?"