Broadcast News Networks Taking Over Primetime For Midterms Coverage, Reflecting High Stakes Of Elections; How To Watch

Broadcast networks are devoting their primetime hours to coverage of next week’s midterm results, underscoring the stakes and interest in this year’s election. But the night is also a bit of a prelude to 2024, as all of the news divisions and cable news outlets hope that audiences will return for another momentous presidential election. 

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The biggest questions Tuesday — whether Democrats retain control of Congress, and whether Donald Trump-backed election deniers win key statewide posts — will have an impact on the next cycle. And speculation of who will enter the field in 2024, and whether President Joe Biden will run for reelection, will be rampant once there’s a clearer picture of who wins and loses.

The networks vowed in 2020 not to get ahead of themselves in characterizing a candidate’s lead as predictive of the outcome, given the disparity in partisan makeup of mail-in and election-day votes. That didn’t stop Trump from falsely declaring himself the winner in the wee hours of election night in 2020, even as huge chunks of mail-in votes remained outstanding. This cycle, the networks say that they will use the same caution, especially when it comes to declaring control of Congress. And news executives say that is especially the case given how close many of the polls are, and that one of the states, Georgia, may end up in a runoff.

Here’s a rundown of the broadcast and cable news networks’ plans (check back as more are added), with the broadcasters turning to full network coverage by 8 p.m., preempting their lucrative primetime schedules. Fox and The CW will remain in original programming.


ABC News will begin full network coverage starting with World News Tonight anchor David Muir at 7 p.m. that includes panelists, deep dives into the data and analytics, a “ballot watch” desk monitoring storylines related to election integrity and legal (in partnership with the Brennan Center at the NYU School of Law), and correspondents reporting from 13 states.

ABC News Live will provide dedicated coverage beginning in the morning and continuing at 7 p.m. led by Muir, with Prime anchor Lynsey Davis. Kyra Phillips will also anchor updates throughout the night for the streaming service and local affiliates.


CBS News’ America Decides: Campaign ‘22 election special anchored by CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell, Gayle King, John Dickerson and Margaret Brennan in New York begins at 5 p.m. ET on streaming and broadcast television from 8-11 p.m. ET/PT, and again from 11-11:35 p.m. ET for select CBS affiliates. It continues from 12:37-2 a.m. ET live across all time zones. Coverage includes an Election Data Desk.

The CBS News Streaming Network’s coverage begins at 7 a.m. ET, with its 13 local channels providing live local election coverage throughout the day and evening. The network and streaming coverage will for the first time feature live reports and analysis from political reporters at CBS Stations nationwide.


NBC Nightly News anchor and managing editor Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie, Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell will anchor network coverage from New York beginning at 8 p.m. ET. Before that, streaming site NBC News Now’s Decision 2022 coverage kicks off at 6 p.m. ET with Hallie Jackson and Tom Llamas, picking up the network simulcast at 8. Peacock will also simulcast coverage of siblings NBC and MSNBC (see below for the latter’s plan).


PBS NewsHour begins coverage at 8 p.m. ET anchored by managing editor Judy Woodruff who will be joined by David Brooks, Gary Abernathy, Perry Bacon Jr., Amy Walter, Marc Short and Faiz Shakir. Additional reporting will come from PBS station reporters nationwide.


The network’s The News with Shepard Smith will cover the midterms beginning at at 7 p.m. ET with reporters in key states.

Fox News Channel

Fox News Channel’s coverage of Democracy 2022: Election Night begins at 6 p.m. ET co-anchored by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, joined by Bill Hemmer, Harris Faulkner and Shannon Bream. Dana Perino, Brit Hume, Juan Williams, Trey Gowdy, Karl Rove, Kellyanne Conway and Josh Kraushaar will also contribute along with more than 20 correspondents around the country. Overnight coverage will begin at 1 a.m. ET anchored by Trace Gallagher.

Fox Business Network will simulcast Fox News’ live coverage beginning at 6 p.m., with FBN’s Stuart Varney, Maria Bartiromo, Charles Payne and Larry Kudlow to provide real-time analysis on FNC.


Rachel Maddow, Nicolle Wallace and Joy Reid will lead the Decision 2022 election coverage beginning at 6 p.m. ET, joined by Chris Hayes, Alex Wagner, Lawrence O’Donnell, Ari Melber and Stephanie Ruhle. Steve Kornacki will be at the Big Board. Panelists include Jen Psaki, Symone Sanders Townsend, former Sen. Claire McCaskill, David Plouffe, Michael Steele and Carlos Curbelo.

Coverage will continue at 2 a.m. ET with Ali Velshi, Jonathan Capehart, Alicia Menendez and Ayman Mohyeldin.

Patrick Hipes contributed to this report.

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