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KVOA to delay 'Law & Order' episode based on Giffords shooting

Tucson's NBC affiliate will broadcast an upcoming episode of "Law & Order: LA" based on the Jan. 8 mass shooting in Tucson after all, the station said.

But it won't be in prime time.

Earlier, the station had said it wouldn't air the program. Tuesday, it announced that an episode about a female state legislator who is gunned down will be broadcast at 1:05 a.m. next Tuesday.

The program is scheduled to air in prime time Monday, May 16—the same day that U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' husband is slated to blast off in command of the space shuttle Endeavour.

Giffords, along with 18 others, was shot at a meet-and-greet with constituents at a Northwest Side grocery story. Six were killed in the shooting at the "Congress On Your Corner" event.

The "Law & Order" series have never been shy about taking inspiration from front-page crimes. The shows brand their plots as "ripped from the headlines," but a spokesperson for the program emphasized that the show is fiction.

The decision to not air the show in prime time was made because of the timing and sensitive nature of the program, said KVOA'S General Manager Bill Shaw.

KVOA will instead air "A Nation Remembers: the Story of the Pentagon Memorial" during the show's prime time slot.

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Some viewers may wish to watch the episode, Shaw acknowleged.

"I'm sure I will get some calls or emails expressing the fact that they're not happy with my decision, but ultimately that's why I do what I do and I have to make the call," Shaw said.

The "Law & Order: LA" episode will also be available on nbc.com the day after it is broadcast.

Giffords recovering

Giffords is recovering from a shot to the head in what authorities charge was a Jan. 8 assassination attempt. Six were killed and 13 wounded, including the congresswoman, in the mass shooting at a constituent meet-and-greet.

She was moved to a Houston rehab facility two weeks after being wounded. Doctors have said her recovery is "remarkable."

Giffords is "doing remarkably well," her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, said at a NASA press conference last month.

"She's improving every day," Kelly said. "She's starting to walk, talk more, more every day."

"She's starting to process some of the tragedy, that we all went through in January—she's going through that as we speak," he said.

"Despite that, she remains in a very good mood."

Accused faces 49 federal charges

In March, Jared Lee Loughner, 22, was charged with 49 federal counts in the Jan. 8 attack. Not guilty pleas were entered on his behalf by the court.

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Fourteen of the charges Loughner faces could result in the death penalty, if the prosecution seeks it. No decision of hether to ask for capital punishment has been made, authorities have said.

Loughner was returned to a Tucson prison this week, after undergoing a compentency examination in Missouri.

Loughner will likely face local charges in the shooting incident, authorities have said.

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'Law & Order: LA'