TV News Scrambles to Cover Same-Sex Marriage Decision, Charleston Funeral

The major TV news networks went into coverage overdrive on two fronts Friday morning as the Supreme Court delivered its landmark decision on same-sex marriage.

Newsies were already gearing up for a day of emotional coverage with President Obama delivering the eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of nine African-Americans slain in Charleston, S.C., church earlier this month. Reports of terrorist attacks in France and elsewhere in Europe added to the crush of news and coverage decisions.

The broadcast networks had already planned to break into regular daytime programming to cover Obama’s remarks this afternoon at the service for Pinckney, to be held at Charleston’s TD Arena.

The Supreme Court decision was released just after 10 a.m. ET, which made for quite a scramble among anchors and news crews. Obama went live from the Rose Garden around 11:10 a.m. ET with comments on the court’s biggest civil rights decision in a generation.

Lester Holt, NBC News’ newly appointed chief anchor, was in Charleston Friday morning and had expected to anchor “Nightly News” from the city tonight. But NBC News made the call to bring him back to New York to anchor from 30 Rock because of the magnitude of the same-sex marriage decision and the potential for the European terrorism story to expand.

“Today” anchors Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer helmed NBC’s special report on the decision that broke into the 10 a.m. hour of “Today.”

The “CBS This Morning” team was enlisted to handle CBS News’ special report on the court decision. Norah O’Donnell, Gayle King and Charlie Rose anchored the special report at 10 a.m. ET and again at 11 a.m. with Obama’s comments.

ABC News’ David Muir is anchoring a special report later today on Pinckney’s funeral. Chief foreign affairs correspondent Terry Moran is taking the lead on the Supreme Court decision coverage.

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