If Fred Dalton Thompson decides to run for President—and he's currently the third most popular Republican without even doing anything to suggest that he is running—who would lose out most? Rudy Guilliani, the current frontrunner? John McCain, whose MySpace page doesn't say anything about running neck-and-neck with the Tennessee Senator? It just might be TNT. Like Reagan and Schwarzenegger, Thompson developed fame as an actor that helped elect him to statewide political office. Unlike those Californians, he continued his acting career after becoming a full-time politician. In his pre-Senate days, Dalton took on supporting roles in such masculine classics as The Hunt for Red October, Die Hard 2, Cape Fear, In the Line of Fire, and Baby's Day Out, basic-cable mainstays that may not be able to air should Thompson officially throw his hat in the ring. But none would have the impact of Turner's inability to show the past five years of Law & Order reruns, starring a post-Senate Thompson as D.A. Arthur Branch:
Federal campaign law requires broadcasters to give all candidates equal time on the airwaves. That rule applies to entertainment programs like "Law & Order," meaning stations that run the show would be required to give other GOP candidates a like amount of prime-time exposure.
With as many as a dozen or more Republican candidates competing for the nomination, that would be prohibitively expensive.
"As a practical matter, [the television stations] would in all likelihood have to pull all of the Fred Thompson shows for the duration of his candidacy," said Andrew Jay Schwartzman, president of the Media Access Project.
Link. Which, in the case of TNT, would mean . . . I guess we'd be seeing a lot more Charmed?