The Fox network, which begins broadcasting the World Series tonight between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals, will continue this week to air taped, one-minute spots during commercial breaks featuring President Bush and challenger John Kerry answering a series of questions.
The 10 questions were compiled by Fox's parent company, News Corp., based on discussions with "outside political experts," according to News Corp. spokesman Andrew Butcher.
The questions are straightforward and open-ended, such as "What is your plan for winning the war in Iraq?," "Are your religious beliefs important in your decision-making?" and "Is our educational system improving or deteriorating?"
The spots -- 20 in all -- started airing Wednesday. Overall, the network is giving up 20 minutes of commercial time.
"The intention is to give the major candidates a forum to put across their views without any sort of editing so they can be heard directly by voters," Butcher said.
Last year's six World Series games averaged more than 20 million viewers, but that number might go higher this year as the Red Sox pursue their first title in 86 years.
Fox gave free airtime to Al Gore and Bush in 2000, but in that instance the candidates gave back-to-back, taped half-hour speeches on one night responding to the question "Why should Americans vote for you?" Fox first made the offer of free airtime to President Clinton and challenger Bob Dole in 1996, but both men declined.