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Archive for Friday, October 3, 2003

Networks planning recall vote coverage

October 3, 2003

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— Television networks are sending their big guns to California for Tuesday's recall vote, eager to tap into the political circus that could make Arnold Schwarzenegger the state's next governor.

Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings and Dan Rather will be heading west, and cable news networks CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC have put special election-night plans in place to cover a race that has shoved other political news to the side.

"This isn't just a California story," Steve Capus, executive producer of NBC's "Nightly News," said Thursday. "It's a national story. It's worthy of sending the big guns out there."

Since Aug. 1, broadcast network evening news programs have given the California recall nearly four times as much airplay as the Democratic presidential candidates.

Both Brokaw and his designated successor as NBC's lead anchor, Brian Williams, will be in California. Katie Couric will anchor the "Today" show Monday and Tuesday from Los Angeles.

ABC, CBS and NBC all plan special reports on election results Tuesday. But because it will already be 11 p.m. EDT when California polls close, prime-time network programming will be largely uninterrupted on the East Coast.

ABC said Jennings would air a special report only "when results are known." "Nightline" will air a live election report at 11:35 p.m. EDT and a second one three hours later.

"It will be a late night," Capus said. "Night could give way to daylight, and we may not know who the next governor of California is going to be. Because of the intrigue, it makes it a better story."

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