January 24, 2012 1:19am PT by Michael O'Connell
President Obama's State of the Union: How the Networks Are Covering
Given the tumultuous election year, extra eyes will likely tune into President Barack Obama's 2012 State of the Union speech on Tuesday. His third since taking office, the event kicks off at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT and is expected to last at least an hour.
For television audiences, the address will be hard to miss. Cable outlets CNN, Fox News and MSNBC have all planned special coverage, with major networks ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC also broadcasting the event.
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On cable, CNN begins its coverage 8:00 p.m., with Anderson Cooper scheduled to anchor the wrap-up and analysis following the Republican response (coming from Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels). MSNBC has a special pre-show helmed by Rachel Maddow and post-address commentary coming from Chris Matthews, Rev. Al Sharpton, Ed Schultz, Lawrence O’Donnell and Maddow. Fox News will lead into the broadcast with an abbreviated episode of The O'Reilly Factor before handing off coverage Bret Baier, reporting from Washington. Brit Hume, Charles Krauthammer and AB Stoddard will also join the broadcast.
Fox News is also sending anchor Shepard Smith to network sibling Fox, where he'll run the network's coverage until 10:30 p.m.
Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos will front ABC's coverage. The duo -- joined by the network's political team of Jake Tapper, Jonathan Karl, Matthew Dowd, Donna Brazile, Ron Brownstein and Peggy Noonan -- will lead into a special SOTU edition of Nightline. Additional reaction is scheduled to be part of Wednesday's Good Morning America broadcast.
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CBS will include televised and web streams of Scott Pelley and additional members of the network's political team, while on NBC coverage, including NBC News' Brian Williams, will stretch until 11:00 p.m.
Also of note, Keith Olbermann continues to amp up his commentary on Current TV. The cable net will bookend its broadcast of the address with a special episode of the anchor's Countdown.
Online, WhiteHouse.gov will stream the address again this year, with an "enhanced broadcast" that includes charts, statistics and other data that inform the president's various talking points.