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johnnya2k6

Election Night 2020 coverage plans?

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With less than three weeks to go, this is when the networks' news divisions initially start laying out their plans for their biggest event every four years: Election Night!

 

But in the age of COVID-19, things are going to be a whole lot different this year with the most socially distant coverage ever. Based on what we saw during their convention coverage, ABC and NBC will likely use their election studios; CBS's coverage with Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King will originate from Washington for the first time, though everything else (including the projections) will be handled back in New York. Tom Brokaw of course will no doubt be involved, except that he'll probably be from home rather than with Lester Holt and company in the studio (he's 80, you know). Augmented reality graphics will of course play a part as well, especially the electoral map that will decide the presidency and House/Senate seats that will decide control of power on Capitol Hill. The local stations will go all out as well for the big night with their updates in between the network coverage, but rather minimally.

 

Of course, there's no telling what happens when 11:00 pm hits in the East (when polls close in the West and Hawaii) and a winner may or may not be declared during the hour, depending on how fast the results come in. Remember...it wasn't until 3:00 am in 2016 when Pennsylvania -- and the election -- was called for Donald Trump, and if it's really too close to call this time around...we could be waking up to an increasingly tired Holt, David Muir, and O'Donnell on Today, GMA, and CBS This Morning respectively!!!

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In all seriousness...the networks will probably put out press releases detailing their election night coverage plans across all platforms (including radio, since it'll be a century since KDKA's 1920 election started it all) within a week or two.

Edited by johnnya2k6

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It’s quite remarkable to me that ABC has dominated this election cycle. In 2016, I believe they were in second and even third at times for convention and debate coverage. This year they’ve been on top consistently.

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Considering the already high volume of turnout already, I’d have to assume that most news organizations won’t call any race unless the returns are totally inexorable, or if there’s a substantial amount of absentees/mail-ins already counted. Maybe the coverage goes to 2am EDT, but there’s nothing to gain by going beyond that and being on-air in limbo rolling into the following morning... unless something extraordinary happens overnight because 2020.

 

Personally, it might be a case where the races aren’t exactly called for days even if it’s already pretty clear by 2am EDT... not because of residue from 2016, but residue from the 2018 Arizona senate race, which got upended entirely once mail-ins were finally counted and Kyrsten Sinema took the lead.

 

Does that happen everywhere? Who knows at this rate.

Edited by Myron Falwell
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Wow! They took over the MTV space. I wonder if that's permanent. MTV probably hasn't been using much of that at all ever since the TRL reboot flopped. Too bad it doesn't look like they're using the windows assuming it's the exact same space.

 

Edit: This Variety writeup says it is indeed the former MTV studio.

 

https://variety.com/2020/tv/news/cbs-news-election-coverage-norah-odonnell-tv-1234806644/

Edited by C Block

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A brilliant idea CBS to have its election night coverage in MTV's old TRL studio - for reasons more than just the parent company owns both again. And the set looks great - even as it's essentially the current Evening News set on steroids.

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CBS trying to put its foot on ABC's turf?  Feels like 1997 again, when CBS Block Party competed directly with ABC's veteran sitcom block TGIF on the same night.  ha

 

I wonder if CBS This Morning would ever move into hustle of bustle of Times Square? I'm pretty sure that has come up.

Edited by tvtime07
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5 hours ago, Myron Falwell said:

Considering the already high volume of turnout already, I’d have to assume that most news organizations won’t call any race unless the returns are totally inexorable, or if there’s a substantial amount of absentees/mail-ins already counted. Maybe the coverage goes to 2am EDT, but there’s nothing to gain by going beyond that and being on-air in limbo rolling into the following morning... unless something extraordinary happens overnight because 2020.

 

Personally, it might be a case where the races aren’t exactly called for days even if it’s already pretty clear by 2am EDT... not because of residue from 2016, but residue from the 2018 Arizona senate race, which got upended entirely once mail-ins were finally counted and Kyrsten Sinema took the lead.

 

Does that happen everywhere? Who knows at this rate.

 

I'd expect the obvious states (i.e. California, New York, Oklahoma, West Virginia) to be called right away. But otherwise I think they will wait - and it could be a long wait.

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6 minutes ago, GoldenShine9 said:

 

I'd expect the obvious states (i.e. California, New York, Oklahoma, West Virginia) to be called right away. But otherwise I think they will wait - and it could be a long wait.

 

Agreed, it'll likely be a very long night and I suspect some races won't be called until the following morning, so rather than do post-election coverage they'll probably still be doing on-going election stuff.

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3 hours ago, GoldenShine9 said:

 

I'd expect the obvious states (i.e. California, New York, Oklahoma, West Virginia) to be called right away. But otherwise I think they will wait - and it could be a long wait.

Texas may not be called for a few days if it is really as close as people are thinking it is.

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19 minutes ago, Myron Falwell said:

Texas may not be called for a few days if it is really as close as people are thinking it is.

Texas and Florida may be the states to watch this time; in 2012, Florida was the last state called the Saturday after the election and it went to Obama, even though it didn't matter anyway (Ohio already gave him the win on election night at 11:15 pm Eastern).

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If the polls continue to hold with Team Blue leading by double digits nationwide and five to seven points in battleground states, we'll know by 11 pm eastern. North Carolina, Florida, and Texas will have most of their votes already present and counted election night. Georgia has seen a huge shift to the early voting modality. I expect rather than using the misleading "precincts counted" number, you would compare it either to the number of registered voters in a state, or total votes cast in 2016. If the number of ballots tabulated exceed 100% of votes cast in 2016 and counting has stopped then there should be relatively few ballots. You rarely see leads of two or three percentage points shift the other way. 

 

Similarly, if for some reason Team Red is up in places like Virginia, Nevada, and Minnesota then Trump has the advantage in winning, although I think networks will be less likely to call the night for Team Red just ebcause they know they will never be able to pull it back. 

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/10/13/election-2020-mail-voting-shouldnt-delay-results-several-key-states/3623320001/

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8 minutes ago, MorningNews said:

Is ABC going to be based out of the new TV3 studios for this year’s election coverage?

 

Surely.

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20 hours ago, Myron Falwell said:

Texas may not be called for a few days if it is really as close as people are thinking it is.

 

If Texas, which hasn't had a Democrat win a statewide vote in over 20 years, is so close that the comparatively small number of ballots that are still in the mail on election day can change the outcome, then chances are that we know who the overall winner will be.

 

Although that makes me wonder if we might be in for the first time in decades where news organizations call an overall winner before getting to 270 electoral votes, in some kind of situation where it's apparent from the states that are counting quickly that Biden is heading for a landslide or Trump is significantly outperforming expectations, but the data isn't in yet to project which states will go which way.

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I think, based on everything i've seen, we'll have a clear winner within a day or two. If Biden carries the Great Lakes States, it won't matter what happens in some other swing states (see: FL and TX). Obviously there are hundreds of ways things could play out on Election night, but if States like PA, OH, MI, etc swing as hard left as some polls suggest, then it may very well be just a bog standard election night. Yes yes, I know we're all caught up in polls in 2020 just like we were in 2016, but when you add context, knowledge, and history to the 2020 polling, I think it's still fairly clear what will probably happen on election night.

 

Networks will call the race when they see fit. Now, whether the President concedes on election night or not is an entirely different story, and what actions certain parties take after election day remain to be seen.

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On 10/15/2020 at 6:35 PM, tvtime07 said:

CBS trying to put its foot on ABC's turf?  Feels like 1997 again, when CBS Block Party competed directly with ABC's veteran sitcom block TGIF on the same night.  ha

 

I wonder if CBS This Morning would ever move into hustle of bustle of Times Square? I'm pretty sure that has come up.

Back then ABC's TGIF block beat CBS' Block Party despite snagging (2) comedies sitcoms from ABC. 

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2 hours ago, djlynch said:

 

If Texas, which hasn't had a Democrat win a statewide vote in over 20 years, is so close that the comparatively small number of ballots that are still in the mail on election day can change the outcome, then chances are that we know who the overall winner will be.

 

Although that makes me wonder if we might be in for the first time in decades where news organizations call an overall winner before getting to 270 electoral votes, in some kind of situation where it's apparent from the states that are counting quickly that Biden is heading for a landslide or Trump is significantly outperforming expectations, but the data isn't in yet to project which states will go which way.

Out of curiosity, when did the networks call for Reagan in 1984 and GHWB in 1988–before the 270 mark or when it was actually reached? Those two races really weren’t close, especially 1984...

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2 hours ago, Myron Falwell said:

Out of curiosity, when did the networks call for Reagan in 1984 and GHWB in 1988–before the 270 mark or when it was actually reached? Those two races really weren’t close, especially 1984...

CBS declared Reagan the winner right at 8:00 pm Eastern in 1984, and they were also the first to call it for George H.W. Bush (Missouri put him over the top) at 9:18 Eastern, beating ABC by two minutes!

 

1996 was of course a cakewalk for Bill Clinton; all the networks -- and the Associated Press -- called it as soon at 9:00 pm hit.

Edited by johnnya2k6
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45 minutes ago, tyrannical bastard said:

Great.

https://deadline.com/2020/10/donald-trump-sinclair-broadcast-group-eric-bolling-1234599080/

 

I wonder when they'll do a Biden Town Hall.   They said they "offered" him one.   But most of us know how this one will turn out.

 

 

 

Maybe Biden will make a deal with someone else, like Nexstar?

 

I also heard that the Sinclair-owned ABC affiliates did not air the Biden town hall last night. I know KOMO and WJLA, at least, did not air it.

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35 minutes ago, GoldenShine9 said:

 

Maybe Biden will make a deal with someone else, like Nexstar?

 

I also heard that the Sinclair-owned ABC affiliates did not air the Biden town hall last night. I know KOMO and WJLA, at least, did not air it.

That’s odd. Why would they not air it? I wasn’t aware that affiliates can choose to not air network programming.

Edited by MorningNews

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