Washington will mushroom into the media capital of the world Thursday, when President Bush’s second-term inauguration receives extensive coverage by the major TV news organizations.
ABC News coverage Thursday will begin with an extended 7-10 a.m. (ET) edition of “Good Morning America” that will be anchored by Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer from Washington. The show, which normally airs 7-9 a.m. on both coasts, will go live nationwide, as will all the networks’ inaugural coverage. “Good Morning America” will break a barrier by becoming the first network news program to be broadcast in high definition.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Peter Jennings will anchor ABC’s coverage, which will include contributions from ABC News troops ranging from Barbara Walters to the network’s capital beat regulars. Before the day is over, “Nightline” will even give viewers a glimpse of the major inaugural balls.
The day’s coverage on ABC News Now, the network’s experimental digital all-news network, starts at 8 a.m., with Sam Donaldson and Michel Martin, and extends into the evening’s galas. The digital coverage will include video accounts from some two dozen inaugural parade participants equipped with Sprint video mail phones.
On CBS the day starts with Harry Smith anchoring “The Early Show” in Washington from 7-10 a.m. Then Dan Rather reports in as anchor of five hours of coverage from D.C. stalwarts including Bob Schieffer and John Roberts, the White House correspondent said to be the leading candidate to succeed Mr. Rather as “CBS Evening News” anchor in early March.
NBC News will start the day with the “Today” show’s Katie Couric, Matt Lauer and Al Roker broadcasting from Washington at 7 a.m. Brian Williams will anchor the network’s coverage from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sister network MSNBC’s inaugural day begins at 6 a.m. with Don Imus, whose politically attuned radio show is simulcast on the cable network, originating from Washington. “Hardball” host Chris Matthews will anchor coverage starting at 9 a.m. that includes contributions from a large contingent of NBC News and MSNBC personnel at the National Mall. The only prime-time anchor to remain at MSNBC headquarters in New Jersey will be Keith Olbermann. Ron Reagan and David Shuster will report from the inaugural balls.
The Fox News Channel inaugural day will start at 7 a.m. with “Fox & Friends.” Chris Wallace and Shepard Smith will anchor the inaugural programming blocks before and after the 10:30 a.m.-to-1:30 p.m. block over which Brit Hume presides. In prime time, Bill O’Reilly will originate live from New York, “Hannity & Colmes” will originate from the Texas-Wyoming Ball in Washington and Greta Van Susteren will cap the long day with a three-hour edition of “On the Record.”
CNN’s special coverage Thursday begins at 10 a.m. with Wolf Blitzer in the anchor chair through 6 p.m. Lou Dobbs will join the afternoon contributors. After reporting from various sites along the path of the day’s events, CNN’s prime-time personnel will redeploy with Anderson Cooper and Paula Zahn co-anchoring from the inaugural Freedom Ball at Washington’s Union Station from 7-9 p.m. Larry King and Aaron Brown will do their shows live from D.C. at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., respectively.