White Noise received an interesting media release from the ABC today, announcing a one hour interactive discussion with visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Hosted by Leigh Sales, the show will be recorded in front of a live audience. Home viewers are encouraged to submit questions via Facebook and Twitter.

Sounds a heck of a lot like Q&A, doesn’t it? It begs a few questions and one wild hypothesis.

Why not brand this as a Q&A event? Is this an attempt to limit exposure to the brand following the Howard shoe-throwing incident a fortnight ago?  Or, is it not a Q&A event simply because Tony Jones isn’t hosting the program?

I can understand why the ABC would want to see the highly qualified Leigh Sales on stage besides the female US Secretary of State (both are fiercely strong, independent women). However, if Sales is hosting the program instead of Jones because of the fact that she is a woman, then that is somewhat disappointing in a way.

That said, I don’t think that is what is at play here. I’m proposing a theory. Lets say that Tony Jones is set to take over The 7:30 Report in 2011. Would it not make sense to move Leigh Sales in to host the higher-profile-than-Lateline Q&A next year? Hosting a TV event like this would serve as an excellent trial to see how Sales handles hosting a Q&A-style show.

Regardless, it should make for an interesting hour of TV and I’m sure Sales will do a sterling job.

MEDIA ALERT:

Hillary Rodham Clinton: An Australian Conversation
ABC Exclusive on TV, Radio and Online

This Sunday at 6pm (AEDT), ABC1 and ABC News 24 will broadcast an exclusive in conversation event with U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Hosted by Lateline’s Leigh Sales, Hillary Rodham Clinton: An Australian Conversation will be recorded in front of a Melbourne audience, with questions from the floor and via video link, as well as Facebook and Twitter.

Similar to events that Hillary Clinton has done previously around the world, this ‘town-hall’ style event invites an audience of under-35 year olds to ask questions to the U.S Secretary of State.

If people would like to post a question to Hillary Clinton for this special ABC News event, they can go to ABC News’ Facebook page at facebook.com/abcnews.au  or on Twitter at twitter.com/abcnews, using the hashtag #hillaryoz.

The one-hour special, Hillary Rodham Clinton – An Australian Conversation will also be streamed online from 6pm AEDT at abc.net.au/news.

The program will be available on iView two hours after broadcast and at abc.net.au/news.

ABC NewsRadio will also broadcast the special at 6pm AEDT.