When I arrived in the lobby of CNN, I was mistaken for a guest on Nancy Grace, a deviant psychiatrist or some such. "We're the only show in the building not doing election stuff," says a production assistant proudly. Topic: Baby killed by a pit bull.
CNN U.S. President Jon Klein is excited. "This is like Super Bowl Sunday, but we're all here waiting 12 hours for the game to start."
Newsroom startlingly quiet. There's a energy, but at a low buzz, despite the location of the set at one end of the open newsroom, packed with a dozen anchors, analysts, and assorted commentators (Anderson Cooper! Paul Begala!) People are walking around, as intent on staying out of camera range as they are intent to hurry to their destinations. Occasionally a buzzer sounds to announce to staffers that the data desk is calling a race. Bleep! CNN is calling the hotly contested New Jersey Senate race for Bob Menendez! Bleep. That goes on the air a few minutes later.
Klein's proud of the set design. "We wanted to give it the feel of what it's like to be in the newsroom."
The chaos is in the control room. Normally spacious, there's too many visitors and lots of noise. Producer for the night is David Boorman is calmly issuing directions to anchors on the set, while other producers work with the decision desk to decide what race to discuss next.
Then–calm is lost momentarily as CNN makes a BIG call Joe Lieberman wins in Connecticut. "Go go go!" a producer shouts trying to get on-screen graphics cropped properly.
But, even the hardest bitten news junkies are jealous of my next destination: The set of of The Daily Show's live show at 11pm. "Can I go?" Klein asks me. "You stay here."
By John Higgins