Inauguration is coming.
On Wednesday, TV and the Internet will be dominated by the event, as Joe Biden will become president and Kamala Harris will become vice president in a ceremony that has been scaled back with a small crowd due to the pandemic. Sometime before noon, when the Constitution says that the new presidency begins, Biden will be sworn in during a program that will include Lady Gaga singing the national anthem, a musical performance by Jennifer Lopez, an invocation by Biden family friend Father Leo J. O’Donovan, a poetry reading by Amanda Gorman, the first National Youth Poet Laureate, and an address by Biden.
No exact start time has been announced, but it’s all likely to begin in earnest by around 11:30 a.m. in order to make the noon deadline. The TV outlets will no doubt be focused on the event for the better part of the morning and midday. President Trump will not attend — none of that peaceful transfer of power business for him — but Vice President Pence is scheduled to be there. All the living former presidents will be there too, except for Jimmy Carter, 96, who is unable to travel. Expect the live coverage, which will be all over TV and the Internet, to take full note of the security precautions — Washington is already under a state of emergency — that have been greatly increased since last week’s insurrection.
Then, on Wednesday night at 8:30, there will be a 90-minute TV event to commemorate the inauguration. Called “Celebrating America,” it will replace the usual celebratory balls, which, like so many other traditions in the past year, will not take place due to COVID-19. Tom Hanks is going to host, and the guest list of performers includes Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato, Ant Clemons, and Justin Timberlake. It will be aired on ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, and MSNBC and streamed across platforms including Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, Facebook and Amazon Prime Video.