White House Correspondents’ Dinner Will Have TV Competition

By Chris Ariens 

The annual White House Correspondents Association Dinner will go on as planned this year, says the WHCA’s president. But this year it’ll have some televised competition in the form of Samantha Bee‘s TBS special called Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

“Executives at TBS offered their full support of the gala by nodding politely and then muttering under their breath as we turned around,” said Bee in a press release. “The evening is sure to bring plenty of surprises, music, food, and laughter—and if you’re not careful you just might learn something. Specifically, you’ll learn how screwed we’d be without a free press.”

Over the last two decades the dinner has turned into a star-studded affair. Hollywood A-listers, who are invited guests of the major networks and top publications, mingle with White House reporters and New York anchors as the president rattles off one-liners, with a few aimed directly at the media. In recent years, some networks have even produced red carpet and post-dinner specials. But given Pres. Trump’s so-called “running war with the media,” and the dismay many in Hollywood have for the president, the turn-out is in question, which could also lead to scaled-back network coverage for the April 29 event.


“The WHCA looks forward to hosting our annual dinner this year as we do every year to celebrate the First Amendment, reward some of the finest reporting of the past year and recognize promising young student journalists,” the WHCA’s Jeff Mason tells THR.

The annual dinner, which fills the Washington Hilton International Ballroom to its 2,700-seat capacity, raises money for scholarships. TBS says all proceeds from Bee’s special will go to the Committee to Protect Journalists “whether they like it or not.”

The last time the dinner was canceled was in 1951, at Pres. Harry Truman’s request, citing the “uncertainty of world events.”