How newsworthy is Donald Trump’s inauguration? The nation’s TV-news outlets are throwing two episodes of “20/20,” a CBS primetime special, two live episodes of “Hannity,” a four-hour broadcast of “Morning Joe,” and an early start to CNN’s “New Day.” And these efforts still won’t be enough.
TV news will go wall to wall to cover Trump’s ascension to the presidency, a feat that many pundits and prognosticators believed was nearly impossible a year ago at this time. Now, news outlets ranging from ABC to MSNBC will devote hours and hours to the start of his term in office.
Most of the activity will center on inauguration proceedings around the nation’s capital. On ABC, George Stephanopoulos will co-anchor “Good Morning America,” and then lead overall coverage, joined by David Muir, Robin Roberts, Martha Raddatz, Byron Pitts, Jonathan Karl, Matthew Dowd, Cecilia Vega, and Tom Llamas. Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum will co-anchor six hours of coverage on Fox News Channel. Lester Holt will lead NBC News coverage starting at 10 a.m., assisted by Tom Brokaw, Chuck Todd, and Nicole Wallace. CBS, meanwhile, is trying to dovetail main coverage of the day with its “CBS This Morning.” Scott Pelley will join regular morning hosts Charlie Rose, Gayle King, and Norah O’Donnell, then anchor CBS News’ all-day coverage from the swearing-in through the parade. MSNBC will start off with a four-hour “Morning Joe” that will lead into coverage anchored by Rachel Maddow, Brian Williams, and Chris Matthews starting at 10 a.m. ET.
CNN will split its coverage of the day among two different teams. Between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., Wolf Blitzer, Jake Tapper, Anderson Cooper, and Dana Bash will anchor special coverage of both the Trump inauguration and President Barack Obama’s departure. Between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., Alisyn Camerota, Chris Cuomo, Brooke Baldwin, and Cooper will anchor coverage during the Inaugural Parade.
Every network will hook most of its programming on the proceedings. CNN’s “New Day” will start an hour earlier than usual — at 5 a.m. — and its early evening and primetime shows will broadcast live from Washington, D.C. Fox News Channel will air its primetime lineup live from Washington, with the large portion of its early evening and primetime schedule holding forth from there the previous night as well. “Fox & Friends” will also get an early 5 a.m. start.
On CBS, Pelley will anchor an hour-long version of “The CBS Evening News” from Washington, while CBS will at 8 p.m. broadcast an hour-long special anchored by King and John Dickerson, who will explore what a Trump presidency will mean for the U.S. ABC will air a special broadcast of “World News Tonight,” two one-hour “20/20” specials anchored by Elizabeth Vargas and Muir, and a special Washington-based edition of “Nightline.” In a Thursday-night broadcast, Vargas will interview Donald Trump Jr., and Eric and Lara Trump, asking them about criticism from ethics experts about how they will run the Trump Organization, while Deborah Roberts will interview Ivanka Trump. On Friday, a special live edition of “20/20” will report on the highlights of Inauguration Day, and feature live coverage inside the Inaugural balls.
NBC News is making a point of highlighting coverage outside the Beltway. The news organization will rely on reporting from correspondents set up across several points in the U.S. and overseas. Gadi Schwartz will be stationed along the U.S./Mexico Border. Kevin Tibbles will report from Pemberville, Ohio, Ron Mott from Pittsburgh, and Tammy Leitner from North Carolina. Meanwhile, Richard Engel, and Bill Neely will be stationed in Moscow, Kelly Cobiella in Berlin, Keir Simmons in Davos, Matt Bradley in Tel Aviv, Lucy Kafanov in London, Ali Arouzi in Tehran, Claudio Lavanga in Rome, and Janis Mackey Frayer in Beijing.