Even big entertainment stars could only dream of a week where they appear on all major network evening news shows, on the front page of the New York Times and Washington Post the same day and on all the morning news programs.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, did that during the past week because of his starring role in the biggest show in America: the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings.Perhaps appropriately, he even taped an interview for "Entertainment Tonight" - which is scheduled to air Thursday evening.
In fact, Hatch's press secretary, Paul Smith, said Hatch received 320 requests from the press for interviews over the past two weeks. The bulk of them came after the Thomas hearings reopened last weekend to investigate sexual harassment charges.
"And that's just the formal requests. That doesn't count the people who caught him for quick questions in the hallway or in breaks at the hearings, or all the people who showed up at his press conferences," Smith said.
And last Sunday, for example, a picture of Hatch holding up the book "The Exorcist" in the hearings appeared on the front page of most newspapers nationally, including the New York Times and the Washington Post.
"I can't remember the last time that happened the same day," said Jeanne Lopatto, Hatch's assistant press secretary.
Smith compiled a list of just some of the major national interviews Hatch gave beginning last Thursday, the day before the hearings reconvened: Thursday, Hatch appeared live on "CBS Morning News," PBS's "MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour," CNN's "Larry King Live" and ABC's "Nightline." He gave major print press interviews to the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times and U.S. News and World Report.
Friday (when hearings reopened) Hatch gave interviews for NBC's "Today" program, "Fox Morning News," "CBS Evening News" (interviewed by Dan Rather), "ABC Evening News" (interviewed by Peter Jennings), "NBC Evening News" and the Washington Post.
Saturday he was interviewed live on PBS coverage of the hearings during a break in testimony. He also gave interviews to the Washington Post, the Minneapolis Post and the Los Angeles Times.
Sunday Hatch appeared live on ABC's "This Week" With David Brinkley (the Sunday news show with the highest ratings), and gave interviews for ABC, NBC and CBS evening news programs. He also gave interviews to the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Washington Times.
Monday (when hearings ended in the early morning) Hatch was scheduled to be on ABC's "Good Morning America," but canceled because he did not get away from hearings until about 3 a.m. and was tired. Later, he gave interviews to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Times and USA Today. He also held a press conference at the Senate Press Gallery, which virtually every major TV, radio and newspaper with Washington bureaus covered.
Tuesday (when the Senate voted on Thomas) he appeared live on "CBS Morning News," "Fox Morning News," "NBC Evening News" (interviewed by Tom Brokaw) and CNN's "Larry King Live." He also gave an interview to Time Magazine. And he held another press conference in the Senate Press Gallery, again covered by virtually all news organizations in Washington.
Wednesday (the day after the vote) Hatch appeared live on ABC's "Good Morning America," and taped interviews for "Entertainment Tonight" and "Prime Time Live" (interviewed by Sam Donaldson).
Smith notes that all the above did not include daily interviews and updates he gave to the Utah press in Washington, nor his hours of debate and questions in the hearings carried in part or whole by CBS, NBC, C-SPAN, CNN and PBS.
"It's been an amazing week," Smith said. "I'm tired."