NEW YORK -- After a day of mixed signals, President Joe Biden will grant the traditional Super Bowl pregame interview to the little-known Fox Soul entertainment streaming service.
The decision, confirmed by the Fox Corp. on Friday, represents a presidential rejection of Fox News, whose commentators are frequent critics of Biden. A presidential interview has become a regular feature of the Super Bowl pregame show over the past two decades, usually conducted by the news division of the network broadcasting the game. This year, the game is on the Fox broadcast network.
While Fox News opinion hosts Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity conducted past interviews of Barack Obama and Donald Trump, Fox had offered the White House a session with a newscaster like Bret Baier or Shannon Bream.
Fox Soul has no regular news programming. The interview will be conducted by Vivica A. Fox, host of "Cocktails with Queens,'' and sportscaster Mike Hill. It had not been determined Friday evening whether their interview would air on the Super Bowl pregame show, a spokesman said.
Without explicitly rejecting Fox News, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at midday Friday that Biden had been "looking forward'' to an interview with Fox Soul, a service that started in 2020 and is geared toward Black viewers. But she said Fox had opted out of the interview.
Fox Corp., in a statement Friday afternoon, said there was some "initial confusion'' when the White House reached out to Fox Soul on Thursday evening. The company said the interview would take place.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In 2021, Biden spoke to CBS News anchor Norah O'Donnell prior to the game, and last year he spoke with NBC News' Lester Holt. Hannity interviewed Trump in 2020.