NEW YORK – The road to Baghdad will have go through Oprah's talk-show set.
And what happens to American Idol when our troops set off for Iraq? A night of George M. Cohan songs perhaps?
Yesterday, big-time TV shows were throwing out shows that had been in the works for weeks and hastily preparing for a nation that will be obsessed with war news.
Here's a look at what topical TV shows are planning to do when war comes:
Oprah: First up to the plate. Devoted yesterday's show to a discussion of a possible war with New York Times columnist Tom Friedman and a professor of Middle East studies, Fawaz Gerges. Gerges was critical of President Bush, while Friedman tempered his remarks, saying "The only thing that will ultimately legitimize [a war] is the reality we build in Iraq."
The show was not last-minute, however. It had been planned for a while and simply benefited from good timing - coming the day after President Bush's televised ultimatum to Saddam.
Live with Regis & Kelly: "We don't pretend to be Nightline or 20/20," said Live executive producer Michael Gelman.
"We have a Regis & Kelly way of handling things which, in different crises in the past, like Sept. 11, focuses on real people and the down-home aspect of what's going on. And that's what we would do in this case."
American Idol: "We've been anticipating something like this for months and we have developed contingency plans for our Tuesday and Wednesday telecasts," said Preston Beckman, Fox's executive vice president of strategic program planning.
What's going on in the world dictates what we're going to do," she says "But our goal is to conclude the show when we planned it to conclude" in mid-May.
The John Walsh Show: Will "most likely" do a show from The Intrepid in the very near future.
The View: Bill Geddie, the show's executive producer, says the morning chatfest will "obviously" be redirected "to reflect what's happening in the country" -- and that includes everything from the "Hot Topics" segments to the booking of specific guests. After Sept. 11, for instance, The View brought in experts on terrorism and chemical warfare.
Maury: A spokesman for Maury said the show "will be monitoring news events closely and looking for the intimate, personal stories that our viewers have come to expect from us."
Late-night: CBS and NBC plan on providing round-the-clock war coverage -- at least for the first few days -- but have no plans yet to expand to 11:30 p.m. nightly newscast like Nightline.