Even though "Law & Order's" Fred Thompson has signaled a Sept. 6 formal announcement of his presidential campaign, TNT -- which airs seemingly continuous repeats of the show -- has no plans to
pull it. Indeed, the show is set to run on the net 23 times next week. Thompson's candidacy, assuming it becomes official, could trigger an equal-time rule requiring TV stations that air appearances
of federal candidates to give the same amount of time to other qualified candidates.
While broadcast and cable networks are not subject to the rules, some cable nets have taken steps
to avoid triggering it and thus setting a precedent. And NBC says it will not air any "Law & Order" featuring Thompson after Sept. 1. "The equal-time requirement applies when the person has legally
qualified as an official candidate in a relevant state-for example, having his or her name formally approved to be on a state's primary ballot-not merely when he/she declares his or her intent to
run," says NBC.
If Thompson formally announces his intention to run for president, NBC will not schedule any further repeats of "Law & Order," featuring Mr. Thompson beyond those already scheduled, which conclude Sept. 1.