I am in New York City and have been since Friday. Our election coverage is somewhat more complicated than others since the News Corporation "family" is so large. FOX News Channel, FOX Broadcast and FOX radio are all getting ready for election night and we needed to rehearse so that we fix any technical issues that could arise. We have to be able to interact technically with these different media platforms, which is not something that we do routinely.
We held our rehearsal on Saturday and I have attached some pics from the day (see the photo essay.) Brit Hume (search) will anchor the FNC coverage, and Shepard Smith (search) will anchor the FOX Broadcast Network.
Shep's panel will include Ceci Connolly of the Washington Post and Rich Lowry of the National Review (see photo essay.) I teased Ceci Connolly about her assignment — while Shep is really fun to work with (he is very easy going), he has the temperature in the studio at 60 degrees (almost snowing.) After you sit there for an hour with Shep — and they will be there hours and hours — you can't feel your hands or feet and your teeth chatter. I don't know how Shep can stand it so cold. I told Rich Lowry his glasses will have frost on them within the first 30 minutes. If you work with Shep, you have to be ready to have a blanket on your lap and hope that the camera never takes a wide shot. (And yes, there are also stories about me: I am chronically cold so I try to have the studio warm, but not too warm as it hurts the cameras and lights. When I will be on the set for hours, I have a heater under the desk. I have to be careful I don't roast my guests.)
My role for election night is to cover the ballot issues — e.g. defining marriage, legalization of marriage, reapportionment of electoral college votes, embryonic stem cell research — and any legal problems (lawsuits) that may arise. I will be in a separate studio from Shep and Brit and both will come to me and to my panel about legal issues. I will have my own panel — Judge Napolitano and election expert Ken Gross. Ken and I worked together four years ago during election 2000.
Since this is an "all hands on deck" event, you should expect to hear from virtually all the correspondents and anchors throughout the night. We have no idea how long the coverage will go on. We intend to have non-stop coverage until we can comfortably call the races. Of course it took about 37 days to determine the president in 2000, but we are hopeful it will only be hours this year.
I ran into two CNN people on Saturday in two different places in New York City. Both told me that, like FOX, CNN has been engaged in rehearsals on the weekend. I assume MSNBC has likewise been rehearsing. While we can't rehearse the results — we don't know them — all the attention is on the technical matters: Can all the anchors and correspondents hear each other? What about the graphics showing the different races and the results? What happens when, for instance, a guest is needed on both FNC and FOX Broadcast at the same time?
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