Prez's Katrina speech throws skeds off

President Bush is making life difficult for the networks again, with a last-minute primetime speech playing havoc with schedules.

White House announced Tuesday that Bush plans to address the nation Thursday at 9 p.m. EDT. Speech about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is expected to run between 30 and 45 minutes.

News proved to be an immediate headache for Fox, which had planned to air the second episode of new sudser “Reunion” in that Thursday timeslot. That airing has now been preempted, pushing the second seg of “Reunion” to Sep. 22 — directly opposite the season premieres of “CSI” and “The Apprentice.”

Fox wanted to get two episodes of “Reunion” sampled by viewers before the other nets’ big guns returned, and air a total of four segs before baseball preemptions. Now only three segs will air before the skein takes a break for baseball.

Over at CBS, Bush’s speech has set up a series of sked shifts that will result in the planned Sept. 21 season premiere of “CSI: NY” being bumped back a week.

Eye had planned to repeat the Quentin Tarantino-helmed two-hour season finale of “CSI” this Thursday, from 9-11 p.m. — using the event to tubthump Friday’s premiere of “Threshold.” Because of the Bush speech, Eye will run two individual repeats of “CSI” immediately after the speech finishes (or one “CSI” if the speech runs very long).

CBS isn’t giving up on repeating the “CSI” season finale, however. It will now air Sept. 21 from 9-11 p.m., opposite the premieres of “Lost” and “Invasion” — and a night before the season premiere of “CSI.” As for “CSI: NY,” it’s now set to return Sept. 28.

ABC plans to devote all of its Thursday lineup to news coverage of Katrina’s aftermath.

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