The Hollywood Reporter‘s Paul J. Gough wrote last night that “the networks aren’t going to hold back calling the election for Barack Obama or John McCain if either gathers the magic number of 270 electoral votes.”

It’s therefore “possible, if not altogether likely, that the presidential election could be called before polls close in the west,” he writes. The networks are all claiming “they won’t make any predictions before their time. But executives say it would be foolish for them to sit on a projection if they’re sure, and it wouldn’t be fair to viewers.

The election will basically be over once the Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania tallies come in, which’ll be…what, somewhere between 8 pm and 9 pm Eastern or 5 pm to 6 pm out here?