TV News, Scrambling to Cover Impeachment Inquiry, Will Break Into A.M. Schedule

President Donald Trump speaks before signing H.R. 1327, an act ensuring that a victims' compensation fund related to the Sept. 11 attacks never runs out of money, in the Rose Garden of the White House, in WashingtonTrump, Washington, USA - 29 Jul 2019
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP/Shut

The U.S. government is getting ready to take over morning television – at least for a few hours.

The three major broadcast-news outlets are preparing to break into regularly scheduled programming Wednesday morning to offer viewers information on the first public hearings of the U.S. House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, while cable-news networks ready wall-to-wall coverage of the matter.

NBC News plans a 10 a.m. special report on the hearings, led by Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie and Chuck Todd. ABC News plans to cut into programming at 10 a.m. with a special report featuring a team led by George Stephanopoulos and David Muir. CBS News plans special reports on Wednesday led by anchor Norah O’Donnell, with additional coverage provided by the team at “CBS This Morning.”

The networks also expect to break into the regular schedule Friday morning, when another hearing is planned.

Impeachment hearings are uncommon, and many Americans remember Washington’s deliberations on Watergate – carried for hours over broadcast TV – as a cultural and historical touchstone. But these new hearings will be carried in an entirely different information ecosytem, and may not provide as many communal moments as those early-1970s debates.

In 2019, for example, cable news often bears more influence. And news aficionados also have a bevy of streaming-video services at their fingertips.

Fox News Channel plans what it calls “wall to wall” coverage of the matter, led at 9 a.m. Wednesday by Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith. They will be  joined by Martha MacCallum, Dana Perino, and  Juan Williams. Bret Baier and Chris Wallace Will anchor from Washington. MSNBC plans to start coverage at the same time, anchored by Brian Williams and Nicolle Wallace, joined by Ari Melber. CNN plans all-day coverage as well, according to a spokesperson, but has not indicated whether it will change its usual daytime schedule as part of it.

The TV-news units will also transmit the hearings via streaming video. CBSN and CBSNews.com will provide coverage of the hearings as well as offer special editions of one of its programs, “Red & Blue,” that analyzes the day’s major news.  ABC News plans streaming coverage on ABCNews.com and ABC News Live. The latter will also feature  pre and post shows on Wednesday, November 13 beginning at 9 a.m. eastern and Friday, November 15 at 10 a.m. eastern led by Tom Llamas.  FiveThirtyEight will live blog the hearings. The impeachment hearings will also stream live on NBC News Now, NBCNews.com, and MSNBC.com.