EmptyFrom the tiny township of Dixville Notch, N.H., to the sidewalks of Santa Monica, voters flocked to the polls in record numbers Tuesday in what was arguably the most important as well as the most exhilarating election in decades. And for these past crucial 24 hours, the media — starting abroad with foreign broadcasters, the worldwide blogosphere, cable news nets, radio pundits and the Big Four — rose to the occasion with blanket coverage of the historic Obama win. The Hollywood Reporter also fielded a global team to provide readers with a blow-by-blow rundown of the round-the-clock highlights.
9:20 p.m. PST Monday The results are in from Dixville Notch: 15 for Barack Obama, six for John McCain. It's the first time the town has gone for a Democrat since 1968. On CNN, Anderson Cooper can't keep a straight face when pronouncing the burg's vaguely lurid-sounding name. "It's a traditional story," he says, smiling apologetically. "We have to do it."
9:45 p.m. German news channel N24 quotes a poll that says 95% of Teutons would vote for Obama. Maybe they think he would resist giving Angela Merkel a shoulder rub.
11:20 p.m. Indian director Shekhar Kapur posts a message on his blog: "Let me be the first to congratulate you, President Obama, on becoming the most significant man of our troubled times."
2:02 a.m. Tuesday The first balloting has barely begun, but CNN's John Roberts cuts right to the chase: "Don't forget that the day after tomorrow, Campaign 2012 begins. Get ready for that."
3:35 a.m. German pubcaster ARD reports from a Japanese restaurant Asian Nine in Washington that the Obama/Biden sushi rolls are outselling the McCain/Palin rolls.
About 4 a.m. The Times of London posts a story from reporter Rob Crilly about his bringing a goat to the Obama family victory feast in Kogelo, Kenya.
4:02 a.m. NBC's Matt Lauer tells viewers that it could be a record turnout, more than 140 million votes cast. But there's one notable exception among the "Today" crew. "Al Roker tried to vote on his way to work in Manhattan, and he couldn't even get in," co-host Meredith Vieira says.
6:30 a.m. Curmudgeon third-party spoilsport Ralph Nader, who cannot be bothered to keep his tie straight on CNN, hopes he's going to do well among those who "vote their conscience."
7:30 a.m. The Internet is in the tank for Obama. On his Web site, even President Bush's electoral mastermind Karl Rove predicts a blowout, forecasting that Obama will receive 338 electoral votes.
8:07 a.m. On CNBC, Heritage Capital's Paul Schatz talks about the election with the Dow up 296 points. "The market has fully priced in an Obama victory," he says. "The market has not yet priced in the Democrats getting 60 seats in the Senate. (If that happens) the markets are not going to be happy tomorrow."
9 a.m. The French media is struggling to find material to entertain audiences as the 6 p.m. news rolls around. All-news network i-tele begins its night of coverage by asking New Yorkers how they are passing the time while waiting in line to cast their votes. "I'm on Facebook," one man says.
9:33 a.m. Fox News' Molly Line reports that McCain will forgo his Election Day tradition of taking in a movie.
10:15 a.m. French philosopher Bernard Henri Levy says on Canal Plus' nightly news and entertainment show "Le Grand Journal": "A part of the American identity was corrupted by the Bush administration. Bush caused America to lose part of its soul."
10:45 a.m. Fox News brings up reminders of the 2000 election with a report of problems with optical scanners at polling places in Florida. But the network has its own technical problems when a glitch with a feed from a Tampa-based reporter forces anchors to cut to a weather segment, only to find a breathless Janice Dean quite unprepared.
11:16 a.m. During a report on alleged voter intimidation by a group of Black Panthers at a polling place in Philadelphia, Fox News reporter Rick Levanthal gets into an argument with one of the alleged Panthers over Fox News' right to film there.
12:21 p.m. No one can keep up with the crush of posts to Twitter's Vote Report about users' voting experience. Several tweets arrive every second.
12:50 p.m. CNN's Rick Sanchez lays into Joe the Plumber, and the clip quickly becomes a viral hit.
1:15 p.m. France is informed that Robin Williams is named president of the U.S. (Canal Plus is airing Barry Levinson's "Man of the Year.")
2:30 p.m. An early poll result from CNN: 72% of first-time voters surveyed went for Obama.
2:46 p.m. Hundreds of people are mobbing George M. Cohan Square at Broadway and 46th Street to watch CNN on the big screen. A few people are walking by, but more are sitting or standing in rapt attention — even without any poll results.
2:50 p.m. Drudge Report's headline becomes big red block letters: "SENATE: DEMS SEE 58 SEATS; EXIT POLLS SHOW OBAMA BIG."
3:20 p.m. CNN debuts a new toy. The network that popularized the touchscreen election map now unveils — "Drumroll please," says Campbell Brown — the Virtual Capitol. It's a digital image of the U.S. Capitol building rising out of a tabletop platform in the middle of a CNN studio set. The various Senate seats that are up for grabs hover over the building.
3:24 p.m. Slate.com posts its first exit poll data under the headline, "Prematurely Making Premature Predictions."
4 p.m. CNN calls Vermont for Obama and Kentucky for McCain. Neither is a surprise. What is surprising is how many states are too close to call: Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Virginia. The electoral college score: McCain 8, Obama 3.
4:22 p.m. CNN debuts its hologram interview feature that puts CNN correspondents virtually in the middle of the newsroom. "We're going to do something that's never been done on television before," Wolf Blitzer says. Correspondent Jessica Yellin, captured by 35 HD cameras at the Obama party in Chicago's Grant Park, appears before him, purple squiggly highlighter lines around her. "It's like I've followed the tradition of Princess Leia," she says.
4:51 p.m. There's a running tally of Facebook users who say they have voted. It changes faster than one can write. It's at 4,158,755. No — 4,159,125. Ack!
5 p.m. NBC's Brian Williams makes a slew of calls — among them is "the big prize," Pennsylvania, for Obama.
5:05 p.m. Anchor Charlie Gibson tells his ABC News audience that while Obama may have just started to turn the race into a rout, this is one network that will not be projecting any winner until he reaches the necessary 270 total. His colleagues appear to be stifling laughter.
5:15 p.m. CNN shows Democratic supporters screaming and cheering at Grant Park, nearly drowning out the correspondent. Cut to the McCain rally at the Biltmore in Phoenix: A boys choir is singing some ethereal song. It's like a keg party vs. a funeral service.
5:18 p.m. CBS News reports that with Elizabeth Dole projected to lose her Senate seat in North Carolina, this would be the first time in 50 years there won't be a Dole or Bush in elected office.
5:26 p.m. KCBS addresses the hot-button Proposition 8, which would prohibit same-sex marriages should it pass. KCBS reports that a "No on 8" party is planning more than 1,000 toasts of champagne glasses. "But will they have something to tip their glasses to?" reporter Stacey Butler wonders.
5:30 p.m. CBS News projects Obama to win the key state of Pennsylvania. "That is a major blow to John McCain," Katie Couric notes.
5:37 p.m. With the U.S. poised to elect its first black president, Black Entertainment Television inexplicably has yet to shift to election coverage in the West, instead opting to run a 10-year-old installment of the juvenile sitcom "Smart Guy."
5:39 p.m. In a throwback to the late Tim Russert's famous clipboard from the 2000 election that had the words "Florida, Florida, Florida," NBC News political director Chuck Todd scribbles "Bush, Bush, Bush" on NBC's virtual board. "It is one guy who took the party down tonight," he says.
6:04 p.m. Based on the results so far, MSNBC's Chris Matthews comes to a conclusion: "This might be a good time to order the pizza. This thing is gonna go for a couple of hours before we know anything definitive."
6:09 p.m. Fox News puts Ohio in the Obama fold. It's the second time it has done so in less than 10 minutes, as the net put up a graphic with a check mark for Obama before anchor Brit Hume says it hasn't been called yet. "I apologize. We're not calling Ohio. The check mark was misplaced." But seven minutes later, they do, and it sticks.
6:42 p.m. CNN's John King says, "Look, we're not calling the election, but this is looking very bleak for McCain."
7 p.m. The crowd at Comedy Central's "Indecision '08" party erupts as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert appear on the various screens for their Election Night special.
7:46 p.m. "If Barack Obama wins this election," Colbert asks of a guest, "doesn't this mean racism is over?" Told that it is by no means over, he celebrates its instant eradication anyway.
7:58 p.m. Wthin minutes of one another, the networks call the election for Obama.
8:18 p.m. In Phoenix, McCain concedes. "These are difficult times for our country, and I pledge tonight to do all in my power to help (Obama) lead us," he says.
8:57 p.m. Obama takes the stage at Grant Park in front of a throng that includes Oprah Winfrey and Spike Lee. "If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy — tonight is your answer."
9:50 p.m. At the "No on 8" party, KTLA's Elizabeth Espinosa says, "It looks like 'Yes on Prop 8' is winning, but everyone here is holding on to a lot of optimism."
10 p.m. Former funnyman Al Franken's bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Minnesota remains too close to call. Earlier, CNN pundit Alex Castellanos said, "If the Republicans can't beat a lunatic like Al Franken, we are in bad shape."
10:03 p.m. KTLA cuts from its election coverage to show breaking news of a high-speed pursuit.
Contributors: Kimberly Nordyke, Ray Richmond, James Hibberd, Nellie Andreeva, Gregg Kilday, Mike Barnes and Patrick Hipes in Los Angeles; Paul J. Gough and Georg Szalai in New York; Rebecca Leffler in Paris; Mimi Turner in London; Scott Roxborough in Cologne, Germany; and Nyay Bhushan in New Delhi.