U.S. Media Goes Wall-to-Wall With Paris Terrorist Attack Coverage

The reverberations from Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris have sent U.S. media into saturation coverage mode.

Many regular network programs have been scrapped in favor of ongoing breaking news coverage. Fox News did go forward with its regular “Fox & Friends” morning show but Paris was the topic of the day, augmented with ongoing breaking news reporting anchored by Shepard Smith.

MSNBC is also doing wall-to-wall news coverage headlined by Tamron Hall, Chuck Todd, Chris Jansing, Peter Alexander, and Steve Kornacki (who will also do analysis after Saturday’s presidential debate). The network has yet to schedule time for Brian Williams to appear in his role as breaking news anchor, after he anchored more than five hours of coverage on Friday, but that could change, insiders said.

CNN has been leaning heavily on reports from the streets of Paris by chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour. On Fox Business Network, Maria Bartiromo is flying into Paris to anchor their coverage of the attacks. All of the networks aired footage of people fleeing the Bataclan nightclub and concert hall where concertgoers were being held hostage and killed, as well as images of makeshift vigils created on the city streets and French security forces locking down parts of Paris.

Broadcast programs such as “Today” had special editions focused on the terrorist strikes in Paris with Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie anchoring the coverage. The scale of the carnage cast a pall over entertainment programs such as CBS’ “Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Colbert choked back tears as he noted that the evening’s broadcast had been taped before news broke that more than 120 people had been killed.

“We add our thoughts and prayers to everyone in Paris,” said an emotional Colbert.

Across the country, news of the attacks led most major newspapers. The New York Post’s front page had a stark, black backdrop to a headline that read: “Paris Terror.” The New York Times lifted its paywall and gave six columns over to the story of the attacks and their aftermath, something that Capital’s Joe Pompeo notes is usually reserved for events of historic importance. And the Los Angeles Times splashed “Paris Under Siege” above an image of rescuers evacuating victims.

Regional newspapers also focused on the killings and the world’s response to the deaths. “Terror in Paris,” proclaimed the Gazette in Colorado Springs; “Horror in Paris,”read the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; “Unprecedented” declared the Times in Shreveport, La. while offering up an image of corpses draped under cloth.

In France, Canal Plus, France’s largest pay TV network, did away with its entertainment programming in favor of continuing news coverage of the crisis. TF1 and other national and regional outlets have also offered up exhaustive coverage. Discussions are under way for a TV special paying tribute to the victims of the attacks.

French newspapers struck a mixture of tones in reporting on the events. “This time, it’s war” was the headline in Le Parisian, while the front page of L’Equipe had a black backdrop and the headline “horror.”

Cynthia Littleton contributed to this report.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • J. Michael Mendel Dead: 'The Simpsons'

    J. Michael Mendel, 'The Simpsons' and 'Rick and Morty' Producer, Dies at 54

    Animation producer J. Michael Mendel, best known for his work on “The Simpsons” and “Rick and Morty,” has died. The four-time Emmy award-winner was 54. A spokesperson for Adult Swim, the network where “Rick and Morty” airs, confirmed the death in a statement, saying, “All of us at Adult Swim are devastated by the untimely [...]

  • Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell organize

    Emmys: Basic Cable Networks Hold Their Own, With Nat Geo Leading the Way

    The 2019 Emmys were a harsh, recurring reminder for broadcast networks that their awards lunch is being eaten by premium cablers and streaming services featuring buzzy prestige shows. But basic cablers, despite collectively logging a year-over-year decline in statuettes, managed to grab onto some key prizes with standout titles such as “Pose,” “Killing Eve” and [...]

  • A Man Walks Into the Cnn

    CNN Allegedly a Target of Arrested Solider's Terror Plans

    CNN was allegedly discussed as a potential target by a U.S. Army solider who was arrested this weekend after making known his plans for terror attacks, according to court documents released Monday and subsequent press reports. According to documents filed in Kansas federal court, Jarrett William Smith, 24, was charged with distribution of information related [...]

  • Lorne Michaels - Outstanding Variety Sketch

    Despite Dearth of Awards, Broadcasters Benefit From Televising Emmys

    The Emmys are not showing much love to the Big 4 broadcast networks these days — but don’t expect the awards show to move to a streaming service any time soon. Once again, this year’s awards were dominated by cable, premium cable, and streaming platforms. HBO took home the most Emmys with 34 total, while [...]

  • STUMPTOWN - "Forget it Dex, It's

    TV News Roundup: 'Stumptown' Adds Jay Duplass, Zosia Mamet, Zulay Henao 

    In today’s TV news roundup, “Stumptown” books three guest stars and BET announced new premiere dates for two new Tyler Perry projects. DATES BET Networks and Tyler Perry Studios have pushed back the premiere of their original dramas “The Oval” and “Sistas” to Oct. 23. “The Oval,” which has the 9 p.m. time slot, follows [...]

  • '9-1-1: Lone Star' Rounds Out Main

    '9-1-1: Lone Star' Rounds Out Main Cast With Four Series Regulars

    Fox’s upcoming drama “9-1-1: Lone Star” has filled out the remainder of its series regular roles. Natacha Karam, Brian Michael Smith, Rafael Silva and Julian Works have all joined the series alongside previously announced cast members Rob Lowe, Liv Tyler, Jim Parrack, Sierra McClain and Ronen Rubinstein. Karam will play Marjan Marwani, described as an [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content