Soundstage / Equipment Rack Placement

I don't have the luxury of separate rooms/systems for my 2ch and HT. So, the TV/equipment rack is located between the front speakers - on the same plane. At least, both the speakers and the rack are 4ft. in front of the back wall. The rack consists of open shelves - not a boxy cabinet. How seriously does the rack placement affect soundstage when listening to 2ch? Thanks in advance!
At one point my system was set up the same way and I thought it sounded good. Well one day I lured a friend over and had him help me move my 36" TV out from between the speakers(this was years ago). The imaging became very focused and soundstage was much larger and more well defined, bass speed and articulation improved, in short everything got a LOT better. At that point I new I had to get rid of the TV and keep components as low as possible, possibly not even on the same wall as the speakers. If your TV is not to big try getting it out of there for a few days, see how much it changes for you. Another "fix" you can try is when not watching TV put a heavy blanket over the TV. BTW I was also using an open shelved rack(salamander archetype style at the time)- which ultimately had to go as well.

The solution I used for a while to this problem was a LCD front projector, they can be found for cheap here and over at videogon. As long as you have a fairly dark room DLP and LCD projector's are the way to integrate the two systems with very little impact on each other.
Have the same setup with small 20" TV in between speakers. There isn't anything I know of that can be done to completely eliminate the reflectance from TV. Therefore make the best of bad situation.

If eliminating TV of is out-of-the-question: 1. move TV back so it is behind (not on same plane) speakers; 2. throw blanket or something over TV & rack when listening to stereo critically.

Soundstaging will still not be optimum, but should be better.
Experiment by adjusting the distance of the TV from the back wall. There is ususally a distance that does the least amount of damage. Start at about 30-32 inches from the back wall to the front of the TV screen.
You have a reactive storage device between your speakers, its called a CRT television..Tireguy is totally correct, a quality LCD front projector and screen are now of reasonable price and of high quality. Totally pleased with my purchase of Yamaha LCD and pull down Stewart screen looks great and does not screw with more important Hi-Fi...Tom
As stated above it is a major degredation to the 2 channel performance. If you cover the TV with a thick blanket this will reduce the treble problems but the midrange and bass will still be a little off. Putting a diffusive or absorbtive surface such as a bookcase or old mattress (single guys only!) behind the listening chair will help. This will reduce some of the sound slapping off the wall behind you then off of the glass screen.

Is it possible for you to push the TV back as far as possible and perhaps slide the speakers out for serious listening ?
You have some good responses here. As far as I can remember, imaging has little to do with the woofer, and everything to do with the mid(s) & tweeter(s). Most speakers are designed with the woofers in the bottom of the cabinet, and the mid & hi's above. Therefore, ideally, nothing should be placed between the speakers above the level of the mid & hi drivers. Additionally, you should find a dramatic improvement by pulling the speakers away from the rear wall. If your TV is sitting on a table or stand, leave it against the wall and pull the speakers away from the wall, closer to your listening position. You should find this a large improvement. Also, aim the speakers slightly inward - small changes in the angle will produce significantly diffferent results. If your not married, you may also try removing the coffie table in front of you when you do any critical listening, as it will badly reflect sound. Have fun trying different arrangements - it's all good! Ken.
I'm in the same quandry myself. I had my 2 channel set up with just a small table that convienently works great as a diffuser. Because of situational changes, I then had to move my home theater set-up so that it is now in between the speakers. I have since lost the enjoyment of listening to my system. Pulling the speakers away from the rear walls more helped a lot, but the magic is gone. I'm contemplating just doing away with the home theater, since I enjoy music much more and the current situation is hardly worth the compromise.
Buy a ceiling mounted front projector and a pull down screen and you will no longer have this problem..Tom