(CNN) – Fox Broadcasting Company announced Monday it will not carry President Barack Obama's prime time press conference marking his first 100 days in office, the first time a broadcast network has refused an Obama administration request for that valuable airtime.
The network will instead carry its regularly scheduled episode "Lie to Me," according to its Web site. The show is among the network's most popular and draws an average of 13 million viewers a week. That compares to the relatively paltry 4.2 million who watched the president's last prime-time press conference on Fox. In all, close to 40 million watched that event on one of the eight networks that carried it.
Obama's press conference also comes at the start of the May "sweeps" period, when viewership is watched closely to set the rate networks can charge for advertising.
In a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, the network said it will alert viewers just ahead of the 8 pm ET event that the press conference will be broadcast on sister stations Fox News and Fox Business Channel.
CBS, NBC, and ABC have said they will pre-empt their regularly scheduled programs to air the president's news conference.
The Wednesday night event will be Obama's third prime-time press conference as president. His prime-time address to Congress in February was also carried by all four major broadcast networks.
The White House is not commenting on Fox's decision.