Election 2016 madness will soon be over. But if it’s not, the network news outlets will stay all over it.
After months and months (and many more months) of build-up, it is finally time for voters to decide which presidential candidate they best can tolerate. And it’s finally time for the network news outfits who’ve covered every step and misstep from Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to report the results.
Even the most battle-tested anchors, correspondents and producers say they’ve never quite seen a race like Trump-Clinton 2016. And so anything goes Tuesday night. “It was an intense primary season and it just remained intense,” said Chris Isham, Washington bureau chief at CBS News. “There was no letting up.”
Here’s how the networks are deployed for the big night.
Chief anchor George Stephanopoulos captains the ABC team Tuesday starting at 7 p.m., with assists from David Muir, Charles Gibson, Martha Raddatz, Diane Sawyer and others. ABC stays at it Wednesday with the apocalyptic sounding The Day After: Where Do We Go from Here? Stephanopoulos, Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts and the ABC News political team analyze what exactly happened the night before.
Scott Pelley-helmed CBS Evening News expands to an hour Tuesday. Key figures in the coverage include political director John Dickerson, contributor Bob Schieffer and CBS This Morning co-hosts Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell. CBS This Morning tacks on an hour for the East Coast audience Wednesday, going from 7-10 a.m. CBS News’ digital weapon CBSN went wall to wall starting at 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Fox’s You Decide 2016: Election Special is hosted by chief news anchor Shepard Smith from 8-10 p.m. Contributors include FoxNews Sunday’s Chris Wallace and Fox News Channel’s Bill Hemmer, Martha MacCallum, Shannon Bream and Trace Gallagher. Fox is offering coverage to owned stations and affiliates from 7 p.m. ET to 1 a.m.
NBC News will be live from Rockefeller Center in New York, with 30 Rock lit up in red, white and blue for the occasion. Coverage on NBC airs from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., led by NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, Today co-host Savannah Guthrie and Meet the Press moderator/NBC News political director Chuck Todd. Special correspondent Tom Brokaw pitches in too.
“Our Decision Night in America is for news what the Super Bowl is to sports,” NBC News president Deborah Turness said in a statement.
PBS NewsHour anchors Judy Woodruff and Hari Srinivasan call the shots for the public broadcaster.
Jose Diaz-Balart and Maria Celeste Arraras anchor starting at 7 p.m. under the title La Batalla Final. Reports come from Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., along with states with massive Hispanic populations: Arizona, Florida, Nevada and Texas.
The election is of course of particular interest to America’s Hispanic residents, many who have been stung by Donald Trump’s comments, and fear for his potential immigration policy. “The community has watched and listened,” Diaz-Balart told B&C. “After its final analysis, it will react and act.”
Anchors Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas anchor Destino 2016—Noche de Elecciones, coverage starting at 7 p.m. in Miami. Joining Ramos and Salinas in the studio will be Enrique Acevedo, Felix de Bedout and Ilia Calderon.
CNN has Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, and of course chief national correspondent John King works the magic wall. As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, CNN made its Election Night in America live feed available for free on CNN.com and assorted mobile apps for 12 hours. Said the network: “An election of this significance warrants a significant response by those of us who have the privilege and responsibility of informing the public.”
Fox News Channel
FNC offers Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly leading coverage from New York starting at 6 p.m., with the likes of Wallace, Brit Hume, Dana Perino and Juan Williams pitching in.
MSNBC’s “primetime political team”—Rachel Maddow, Brian Williams and Chris Matthews—starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
A range of other networks—including Comedy Central, Viceland and Showtime—offer their own unique takes on Election Night. On Fusion, Romany Malco hosts Roast and Results with a lineup of comedians. Showtime has Stephen Colbert’s Live Election Night Democracy’s Series Finale: Who’s Going To Clean Up This Sh*t?at 11 p.m., with help from Larry Wilmore, Patton Oswalt and political experts Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. Facebook Live will stream Colbert’s monologue.
All of this will soon be over. Unless, of course, no one concedes Tuesday night.
“It’s been a fascinating and interesting campaign,” says CBS News’ Isham. “I think it’ll be a pleasure to see it come to its conclusion—presuming there is a conclusion.”