It's been a mostly-followed tradition on Super Bowl Sunday that an interview with the president of the United States is aired before the big game, conducted by the news unit of whatever network is hosting the sports event. This year, however, the matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs will be shown on Fox, which has apparently thrown a wrench in President Biden's pre-game chat. CNN Business reports there's been a "strange back-and-forth" taking place between the White House and Fox Corp., and while it's not entirely clear what went on behind the scenes, it does seem clear now that the interview is kaput.
Fox News had reportedly been trying to nail down Biden for the sit-down for weeks, with news anchor Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday host Shannon Bream seen as possible interviewers, per the Washington Post. But Biden's adversarial relationship with the network is well known: He's often brutally lambasted on it, especially by more far-right personalities like Tucker Carlson, and he hasn't granted a single interview to the network since he's been in the Oval Office. Instead, the White House proposed conducting the interview with the streaming Fox Soul channel, which is geared toward a mostly Black audience. On Friday morning, however, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre announced that the Biden-Fox Soul arrangement was off the table.
"We've been informed that Fox Corp has asked for the interview to be cancelled," she tweeted. A few hours later, a Fox Corp. rep dismissed that announcement, citing some "initial confusion" and noting, "Fox Soul looks forward to interviewing the president for Super Bowl Sunday," per the Post. By Friday evening, a White House rep said arrangements had indeed been made with Fox Sports host Mike Hill and actor Vivica A. Fox to conduct the interview, but that Fox's claim that the interview had been rescheduled was "inaccurate." Considering the pregame conversation is usually recorded on the Friday before the Super Bowl, it looks like chances are pretty good it's now dead in the water. Although most modern-day presidents have agreed to the pre-Super Bowl interview, Donald Trump declined to do one in 2018 with NBC News' Lester Holt. (Read more President Biden stories.)