Steve Jobs' Death: How the Networks Covered


UPDATED: CBS and NBC broke into their regularly scheduled programming, while the cable networks devoted extensive airtime to the news that the Apple co-founder and former CEO has died.

The cable news networks abruptly switched gears to devote extensive airtime covering the death of Steve Jobs on Wednesday.

CNN, Fox News and MSNBC all switched from coverage of the other big news of the day -- including Sarah Palin's decision not to run for president and the Conrad Murray trial -- to reflect on the legacy of the Apple co-founder.

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CNN delivered the news to its viewers on OutFront With Erin Burnett and then continued its coverage on Anderson Cooper 360; both shows were simulcast on CNN U.S. and CNN International. The first reporters on the story for CNN were Sanjay Gupta, chief medical correspondent, and Dan Simon, correspondent for CNN Silicon Valley.

Meanwhile, CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight, which was originally scheduled for feature a taped interview with Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, will go live instead for Jobs coverage, with Wolf Blitzer anchoring. Scheduled guests include former General Electric chairman/CEO Jack Welch (via phone).

Other cable news programs covering the news extensively included Fox News' The Fox Report With Shephard Smith and MSNBC's Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell and The Rachel Maddow Show.

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CNN and MSNBC both played video of Jobs' commencement speech at Stanford when he talked about death as the great motivator to live life to the fullest.

CNBC also pre-empted its scheduled programming, including Marijuana USA, for coverage.

HLN's Nancy Grace, meanwhile, led with coverage of the Murray trial. It's unclear whether her lead-in, Issues With Jane Velez-Mitchell, covered the news.

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Bloomberg Television also aired special live coverage, including a live edition of Charlie Rose, featuring an interview with Google chairman Eric Schmidt, at 10 p.m. ET.

G4 will rebroadcast its 2009 half-hour special report on Jobs at 9:30 p.m. ET with updated information. The report, which will encore five additional times through Thursday, is intended as a tribute to celebrate Jobs' life and career.

Among the broadcast networks' coverage, CBS broke into its regularly scheduled programming at 7:46 p.m. on the East Coast (during the airing of Entertainment Tonight in most markets) with a special report anchored by Scott Pelley and continued coverage into its CBS Evening News. The network has no specials planned for Wednesday night.

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ABC News, meanwhile, aired a live edition of World News With Diane Sawyer on the West Coast. While some of the news show remained on tape, the program aired two live segments on Jobs, one looking back at his life and career and the other focusing on public reaction to the news. ABC News touts that it was the first to break into regularly-scheduled programming with a special report at approximately 7:45 p.m. ET anchored by Terry Moran.

ABC's Nightline dedicated the entire telecast to Jobs.

NBC News broke into network programming with a brief special report at 8:10 p.m. ET that was anchored by George Lewis Los Angeles. The 8:30 p.m. ET and later feeds of NBC Nightly News were updated with live reports from Lewis as well as Janet Shamlian at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. The network did not pre-empt its primetime programming for coverage.

Additionally, NBC's Today will continue coverage of Jobs' life and death on its Thursday morning installment.

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Fox kept with its policy of not breaking in to regularly scheduled programming.

Some of the local news stations in Los Angeles also led their newscasts with Jobs reports, including KNBC and KABC, though the news was competing with reports about the inclement L.A. weather on the other channels.

Lesley Goldberg and Philiana Ng in Los Angeles and Marisa Guthrie in New York contributed to this report.