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State of the Union

State of the Union

  • Premiered: 
    January 6, 1947
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: ABC, CBS, NBC, MBS
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Special, Annual
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Political
  • Tags:

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Plot Synopsis

In January or early February each year, the President of the United States delivers a traditional address that is broadcast live from the House chamber before a joint session of Congress, where the POTUS highlights achievements from the previous year and articulates legislative priorities for the coming year. First televised in 1947, President Harry S. Truman spoke at 1pm ET with all four networks carrying his speech, which he opened with "It looks like a good many of you have moved to the left since I was here last," commenting on the number of seats the Democrats lost in the midterm election -- the Democrats lost 12 seats in the Senate and 37 seats in the House. Presidents continued to deliver daytime STATE OF THE UNION addresses until 1965, when President Lyndon Johnson spoke during the evening of January 4, 1965 -- the first one at night since President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his address in 1936.
In 2016, President Barack Obama delivered his seventh and final STATE OF THE UNION address, the 227th in the nation's history, on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at 9pm ET/6pm PT, shown live on more than 15 different broadcast and cable channels. Plus, during the address, the White House provided an enhanced version online (, with charts, facts and other info, while also offering a Citizen Response social media platform, allowing people to connect with the POTUS and their friends. After President Obama finished the 2016 STATE OF THE UNION address, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley delivered the Republican response called the "Republican Address to the Nation." In an annual tradition, the First Lady hosted a number of guests, but one chair was left empty to represent the victims of gun violence "who no longer have a voice."

Firsts, Lasts & Notable Notes

  • January 6, 1947: First live televised broadcast of the State of the Union Address (Pres. Harry Truman).
  • January 4, 1965: First live prime-time broadcast of the State of the Union Address (Pres. Lyndon Johnson).
  • January 29, 2002: First live webcast of the State of the Union Address (Pres. George W. Bush).