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TV news divisions mobilized crews to France in robust effort to cover devastating terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 127 people and injured at least 200 more, many critically. By Saturday, many of the lead anchors at the broadcast and cable news divisions had managed to get into the country.
CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley arrived there on Saturday after anchoring an hourlong edition of the broadcast on Friday evening. He will anchor a piece on the attacks for the network’s Sunday newsmagazine 60 Minutes. NBC’s Lester Holt was expected to anchor Nightly News from New York on Saturday and then head to Paris, while Savannah Guthrie was headed to Paris Saturday after anchoring a special edition of Today with Matt Lauer.
Fox News Channel’s Bill Hemmer is en route, while news anchor Shepard Smith will continue to play a primary role in the network’s live coverage from New York. Fox Business Network anchors Maria Bartiromo and Deirdre Bolton are en route to Paris and will anchor live beginning at 3 a.m. ET Monday when the international markets open.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper also was scheduled to arrive in Paris over the weekend after anchoring his 9 p.m. program from Los Angeles on Friday night. The network had a team of correspondents already in France and other countries in Europe including Christian Amanpour, who was in the city earlier Friday on a different reporting assignment before turning around and returning Friday evening.
All told, CNN executives expect to have a crew of 70 people on the ground in Paris by the end of the day on Saturday while additional New York-based anchors including Erin Burnett and Chris Cuomo were en route over the weekend.
“This is a huge story and it’s not going away,” Michael Bass, CNN’s executive vp programming told The Hollywood Reporter on Saturday. Bass added that CNN’s anchors will remain in Paris through at least the beginning of the week; Cuomo and Burnett will anchor their respective programs, New Day and Out Front, from Paris on Monday.
“We have a small group [based in] Paris and they immediately reacted on Friday night. One of our Paris producers was within 40 or 50 yards of the concert hall,” added Bass, referring to the venue where the worst of the attacks took place on Friday night.
Bodies were still being removed from the concert hall on Saturday morning. And by the early evening hours in Europe, authorities had traced three of the attackers to Brussels, Belgium, where police raided an apartment believed to have been the residence of three of the attackers, according to French media.
Meanwhile, France president Francois Hollande vowed a “merciless” response to attacks during a public address on Saturday. Almost 100 people were systematically shot during a rock concert at the Bataclan concert hall before commandos stormed the building. Many survived and were interviewed on cable news where they described a scene of mass carnage with multiple gunman firing on the young crowd there to see the American band Eagles of Death Metal. Forty more people were killed in five more attacks in Paris including a double suicide bombing outside the Stade de France national stadium, where Hollande was watching the French team play Germany.
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