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‘The Conners’ does two live shows that include ABC primary coverage

“The Conners” was so excited about presenting a live episode that they did it twice.

The ABC family comedy offered a live version of Tuesday’s episode, “Live From Lanford,” at 8 EST for audiences in the Eastern and Central time zones and then another at 8 PST for the West Coast feed.

And, with the episode incorporating live ABC News feeds from the New Hampshire presidential primary, real life interrupted art, as the West Coast broadcast was delayed for two minutes by a breaking-news update with anchor George Stephanopoulos projecting Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders as the Democratic primary winner.

It shouldn’t have been surprising that a single live performance wouldn’t be enough for executive producer Bruce Helford, who presided over a 1999 episode of “The Drew Carey Show” that broadcast live in all four U.S. time zones. And the primary coverage simply added to the degree of difficulty.

Lecy Goranson and Ames McNamara, center, hug as they and their fellow castmates celebrate after Tuesday's live performance of ABC's 'The Conners.'

“Just doing a live show is not enough. It’s fun, but I wanted to add another element to this,” Helford said.

In the episode, Darlene’s son, Mark (Ames McNamara), watches news coverage for a school report on the primary, as other characters go in and out of the room. (The three-hour difference meant changing news reports, with actors and writers adjusting dialogue as events and coverage changed between the two broadcasts.)   

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