HBO: Prayer will be in 'We Are One' telecasts

Inauguration committee takes blame for omission

NEW YORK -- HBO said late Monday that it will include an opening prayer from an openly gay pastor in subsequent telecasts of the "We Are One" inaugural concert -- and said that it hadn't been consulted about what would go where in the two-hour live telecast.

The Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, had delivered the opening prayer in front of the Lincoln Memorial at 2:20 p.m. Sunday to kick off "We Are One," a star-studded event honoring President-elect Barack Obama. But HBO's telecast didn't begin until 2:30 p.m. ET and was live throughout, meaning that viewers at home didn't get a chance to see Robinson's prayer.

The omission caused a pile of headaches for HBO and the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which received an estimated $2 million to give HBO the exclusive rights to the concert. HBO turned around and offered the signal free to cable and satellite subscribers, regardless of whether they had HBO. But the committee, which goes by the acronym PIC, said the fault was its own and not HBO's.

"We had always intended and planned for (the) Rev. Robinson's invocation to be included in the televised portion of yesterday's program," PIC communications director Josh Earnest said. "We regret the error in executing this plan."

HBO said it wasn't involved in the scheduling and said Robinson's opening prayer had been slated in the preshow before 2:30 p.m. Everything from 2:30-4:30 p.m., when the concert was over, aired live and unedited.

"We Are One" was a star-studded event that included much of the entertainment industry's elite, including Denzel Washington, Bruce Springsteen, Shakira and Bono. Obama addressed the crowd near the end.

HBO said that it would add the invocation in repeats as well as stream it on HBO.com.
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