CBS, ABC plan primetime air for midterms


NEW YORK -- CBS and ABC will devote at least an hour of primetime Nov. 7 to covering the results of the midterm elections that have grown in recent weeks to a battle between Republicans and Democrats for control of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

ABC News will devote several hours Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning to coverage, including at least four two-minute updates between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. and then an hour at 10 p.m. ET anchored by Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos that will be available to the entire network. "Nightline" will be live from New York at 11:35 pm ET, and then Gibson and Stephanopoulos will anchor a 10 p.m. PT primetime hour, and "Nightline" will be live to the West Coast as well.

ABC senior vp Paul Mason said that the network will be prepared to provide coverage through the night if it needs to be done. Plus, he said, there are the overnight news programs on ABC, as well as "Good Morning America" beginning at 7 p.m. ET.

"We're ready to go all night. It just depends on the story. If the story is over, then we'll sign off," Mason said.

Also joining ABC coverage will be senior political correspondent Jake Tapper, "GMA Weekend" co-anchor Kate Snow, senior White House correspondent Martha Raddatz plus Cokie Roberts, George Will, Donna Brazile and political director Mark Halperin.

CBS will counter with Katie Couric, who will have her own one-hour primetime special at 10 p.m. ET Tuesday. CBS said that the special will be updated live for the West Coast as well. Couric will be joined by chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer plus correspondents Gloria Borger, Sharyl Attkisson, Anthony Mason, Jim Axelrod and others.

CBS News vp Paul Friedman said Wednesday that Couric will anchor both the 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET specials. Borger, Attkisson and Mason will be in the newsroom with producers at the decision desk or analysts determining the results in the House and Senate races.

NBC News has not yet announced its plans. MSNBC, which after Labor Day offered a full day of political coverage including anchoring stints by Brian Williams and Tim Russert, will do another "Battleground America" blitz of politics on Tuesday, Oct. 24cq date for clarity. Williams will anchor a 1 p.m. hour of political coverage, followed by an hour of Tim Russert and others throughout the day beginning at 9 a.m. Chris Matthews will anchor the 3 p.m. hour.