The 2008 presidential election has veered back and forth between news and entertainment throughout its long process. It's also provided many entertainment networks a platform for reaching interested viewers and delivering record ratings. It's only fitting that many of those networks are sticking with election coverage as the race nears its end.
MTV is planning a slate of election-related news, programming and interstitials on Election Day. MTV News will have correspondents at the McCain and Obama headquarters to provide updates all day, and members of its Street Team '08 will be filing reports from their respective states online, with select reports appearing on the network. The network, which kicked off its election coverage in September 2007 with its “Choose or Lose” campaign, is also teaming up with CNN for at least two special reports featuring John King and his “magic wall,” which will be used to track the youth vote. Viewers can also expect to see snarky overlays breaking into programming every half hour on Tuesday, reading, among other things, “Please go vote now. Love, MTV.”
“Every four years we come out to say that young people need to be listened to and candidates need to take their issues seriously,” says Ian Rowe, senior VP of strategic partnerships and public affairs for MTV. “This year we feel like this is in some ways an affirmation, finally, of what young people are doing.”
The top two Hispanic television networks, Univision and Telemundo, are also planning live Election Night coverage. Univision will kick off its election coverage during its Despierta América morning show, and will be providing hourly updates throughout the day. The network's primetime coverage will begin at 7 p.m., and will be anchored by Jorge Ramos and María Elena Salinas in the network's new election center. Univision has aggressively encouraged viewers to register, and some—Ramos included—believe the Hispanic vote could swing the presidential election.
Telemundo will be offering continuous live coverage all day starting with its morning show Levantate, and ending when a new president is picked. Pedro Sevcec will lead the network's coverage.
BET and TV One, which target African-American audiences, are paying special attention to the election, especially given the front-running status of Barack Obama. BET will feature news briefs and promos throughout the day and is planning special live primetime coverage of the election, anchored by Jeff Johnson, with reporters in the field and at McCain and Obama headquarters.
If Senator Obama does win, the network will air a live special on the morning of Nov. 5, tentatively called BET News: The First Black President, which would feature a discussion and interviews covering the election's historical significance.
TV One will also be providing live coverage on election night with its special report: Election Night '08: A Vote for Change, utilizing the same team that ran its coverage of the Democratic National Convention in August. CNN and TV One analyst Roland Martin will report from CNN's election center as part of that network's coverage, which will also include a look at the impact the Internet has played in this election.
BBC America is planning to use the vast news resources of the BBC to provide live election reporting all evening. Anchored by David Dimbleby and Matt Frei, and joined in-studio by Ted Koppel, the live broadcast will also be streamed online at BBC.com.
Comedy Central, which has been at the forefront of political humor with The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report, has a live one-hour Daily Show/Colbert special planned from 10-11 p.m. on Election Night, featuring interviews with newsmakers and comedic analysis. In addition, Comedy will be featuring interstitials throughout the day directing viewers to its Indecision2008.com coverage, which will be constantly updated with new blog posts and videos.