Paris Attacks: Networks Cut In to Cover Hostage Crisis
With France closing its borders, it was unclear if network correspondents would get to the country.
TV news divisions sprung into action to cover the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris as French TV confirmed that at least 153 people have been killed at multiple sites in Paris including a soccer stadium where there was a suicide bomb attack outside the stadium gates, several restaurants and bars and a concert hall, where the worst of the attacks took place with at least 100 dead there.
Evening news broadcasts went on as planned with most of the 30 minute broadcasts taken up entirely with coverage from Paris. The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley was the only of the three network newscasts to stay with the story past 7 p.m. NBC and ABC switched to regularly scheduled programming.
Many New York-based TV anchors and correspondents were booked on flights to Paris Friday night, but with France closing its borders, it was unclear if any would get there. On the streets of New York there was a visibly robust police presence for the Friday evening commute with uniformed officers on the subways and emergency services units stationed around the city.
ABC News will have a special live edition of 20/20 co-anchored by World News Tonight anchor David Muir with 20/20's Elizabeth Vargas. NBC News will have a special live edition of Dateline at 10 p.m. anchored by Nightly News' Lester Holt. The news divisions also will bring in their A anchor teams for Saturday editions of the morning shows: George Stephanopoulos and Paula Faris will anchor Good Morning America and Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie will anchor the Today show. NBC also has canceled a planned live episode of 8 p.m. comedy Undateable and instead will air an encore.
Cable news has been wall-to-wall since shortly after news of the attacks broke around 5 p.m. ET. Fox News Channel will be on the story for the rest of the evening with Shepard Smith on until 9 p.m. and a two-hour edition of Megyn Kelly's The Kelly File. Smith will be back at 11 p.m.
Eye witness accounts told of bodies on the street while video from the soccer stadium showed a blast and then confused fans in the stands. Fox News anchor Geraldo Rivera's daughter Simone Rivera was at the stadium with friends. In a phone interview on Smith's program she recounted the scene. "They wouldn't let us leave. They didn't tell us what was going on," she said, her voice shaking. "There were teams of [police] barricading [the stadium]. And there was a swarm of people running at us. We were stuck there for four hours because there was a perimeter around the stadium."
On CNN, a man who was inside the concert hall relayed a horrific tale of multiple gunman shooting into the crowd continuously for 10 or 15 minutes. "They were shooting us like we were birds," the man told Anderson Cooper.
President Obama addressed the attacks in the White House briefing room saying that the French values of "liberté, égalité, fraternité" will endure beyond "the hateful vision" of the perpetrators.