Brussels Terrorist Attacks: TV Networks Break In With Wall-to-Wall Coverage

Screengrab/NBC
Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer on 'Today'

At least 31 people were killed Tuesday morning, with the U.S. broadcast networks going live with coverage.

The broadcast networks were scrambling to cover the Brussels terrorist attacks on Tuesday morning, with the morning shows focused almost entirely on the explosions.

ABC News kicked off its live coverage at 4 a.m. ET, with chief anchor George Stephanopoulos in the chair at 5 a.m. ET. On the network's Good Morning America, the incident remained the sole topic of conversation throughout the morning show, co-anchored by Robin Roberts, which provided comprehensive coverage from overseas correspondents, with "Brussels Under Attack" and "Breaking News" graphics.

NBC broke in with live breaking news coverage at 5 a.m. ET and stuck with coverage of the explosions in a special edition of Today starting at 7 a.m. ET, with NBC calling its coverage "Terror in Brussels." NBC's Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer anchored coverage of the Brussels explosions on NBC.

On CBS, the network aired a live special report at 3:59 a.m., before CBS This Morning was scheduled to begin. Anchor Anne-Marie Green kicked off coverage with a phone interview with CBS News correspondent Charlie D’Agata from Brussels, where he’s been stationed since Friday.

CBS This Morning's Norah O’Donnell, Gayle King and Anthony Mason began extended coverage at 6 a.m. and continued to anchor an extended broadcast of the show.

The networks continued with coverage of the attacks into the morning, with ABC, CBS and NBC pre-empting regularly scheduled programming. ABC switched to The View at 11 a.m. ET with the hosts continuing to discuss the attacks during the show. And all three evening newscasts will expand to one hour on Tuesday.

New York City, with its extensive maze of subway lines, was on high alerts on Tuesday. And at about 11:12 a.m. ET, ABC and CBS cut to a press conference by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, who delivered an update to residents about the city's counterterrorism efforts including K9 units and explosive detection units at subways, airports and other public spaces.

Many news divisions had deployed their top anchors to Cuba, where President Obama on Monday met with Cuban President Raul Castro. NBC’s Lester Holt and ABC’s David Muir anchored their respective evening newscasts from Havana on Monday night. At this point, it’s unclear which of the evening news anchors will be deployed to Brussels.

NBC and MSNBC had several correspondents en route to Brussels Tuesday morning including Kelly Cobiella, Bill Neely, Thomas Roberts, Chris Jansing, Kelly O’Donnell, Gabe Gutierrez, Ayman Mohyeldin, Chris Hayes and Cal Perry.

Meanwhile, ABC News had correspondent Alexander Marquardt and chief foreign correspondent Terry Moran in Brussels on Tuesday morning and is planning a special edition of World News Tonight With David Muir.

For CBS, Allen Pizzey was en route to Brussels and Holly Williams was en route to Paris on Tuesday morning. CBSN, CBS News' 24/7 digital streaming news network, also is providing wall-to-wall coverage all day.

Bombs struck the Brussels airport and one of the city's metro stations Tuesday, killing at least 31 people and wounding more than 200, as a European capital was again locked down amid heightened security threats.

The two airport blasts, at least one of which was blamed on a suicide bomber, left behind a chaotic scene of splattered blood in the departure lounge as windows were blown out, ceilings collapsed and travelers streamed out of the smoky building.

About an hour later, another bomb exploded on a rush-hour subway train near the European Union headquarters. Terrified passengers had to evacuate through darkened tunnels to safety.

European news networks went wall-to-wall with their coverage, some reporting that cellphone lines were jammed in Brussels as people tried to make calls amid the chaos.

News networks in the U.K. went into full-out coverage of the news. Emergency services were reportedly clearing and evacuating the airport, which was closed to flights.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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