Broadcast Networks Plan For Coverage Of Senate Impeachment Trial

Ted Johnson

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UPDATE, JAN. 17, 3:15 PM PT: PBS NewsHour will cover the impeachment proceedings live as well as the commercial broadcast and cable news networks.

Judy Woodruff will anchor the broadcast, with Capitol Hill correspondent Lisa Desjardnis and White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor. PBS NewsHour will feature highlights and additional analysis. Guests are expected to include Elizabeth Chryst, Marty Paone, Victoria Nourse, John Hart and Margaret Taylor.

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Some PBS stations will rebroadcast the trial proceedings in the evening, including WETA-TV, the PBS affiliate in Washington, D.C.

PREVIOUSLY, JAN. 16, 7:50 AM PT: Broadcast networks are devising plans for coverage of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, meaning substantial pre-emptions of regular daytime programming.

Set to begin in earnest on Tuesday, the trial is expected to last about two weeks, and could very well go longer, especially if the Senate votes to call witnesses.

CBS News announced that it will broadcast special reports on each day of the trial, anchored by Norah O’Donnell, with contributions from chief congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes, Face the Nation moderator and senior foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan, chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett and White House correspondents Paula Reid, Ben Tracy and Weijia Jiang. 60 Minutes correspondents Lesley Stahl and John Dickerson will offer analysis, along with contributors Jonathan Turley and Kim Wehle.

NBC News coverage will be anchored by Lester Holt, and he will be joined by Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell and the network’s teams at the White House and on Capitol Hill. The network also is planning a team of legal experts and presidential historians.

ABC has not yet to announces its lineup, but a source says the network also is planning coverage for the daytime hours. What’s undetermined is just how much of the trial the networks will cover each day. During the House impeachment proceedings, broadcasters covered some of the key witness testimony, but broke away in the afternoon on some days as the questioning from House members became repetitive.

Cable news channels also are planning gavel-to-gavel coverage of the trial. Fox News announced that chief political and Special Report anchor Bret Baier and The Story anchor Martha MacCallum would lead their coverage, with contributions from Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace in Washington, and The Daily Briefing‘s Dana Perino and Juan Williams in New York. Andrew McCarthy will provide legal analysis, and Bill Hemmer will lead coverage for Fox affiliates. UPDATE, Jan. 17: Ken Starr, who has been a commentator for Fox News’s impeachment coverage, joined President Donald Trump’s legal team, and no longer is a contributor.

Broadcast networks are planning special reports of Thursday’s proceedings, starting at noon ET when the impeachment managers will once again make a procession through the Capitol to the Senate. Then, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) will read the articles in the Senate. Chief Justice John Roberts will be sworn in as presiding judge at around 2 p.m. ET, and then all of the senators will be sworn in as trial jurors. Trump will then be given an official notice, and then given a time to respond.

Senate leaders have instituted a set of strict decorum guidelines for members, including a prohibition of the use of phones or electronic devices during the proceedings.

 

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