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CBS News will base its election night coverage from Times Square for the first time, in ViacomCBS’s headquarters at 1515 Broadway.
The network on Thursday announced its plans for coverage of Nov. 3, with a heavy emphasis on its reporting team, visual graphics and exit and polling data.
The biggest scrutiny, though, will be on how the networks characterize the state of the race and at what point they will declare a winner. One of the biggest concerns has been of candidates declaring victory based on election night totals, even though big chunks of mail-in votes remain to be counted.
The network’s decision desk, led by Anthony Salvanto, will feature an Election Night Tracker that combines exit poll data and vote tallies along with the network’s polling. CBS News’ Battleground Tracker will have polled 100,000 people by election day. The network said that Salvanto will explain its methodology and how it makes projections.
In a statement, CBS News President Susan Zirinsky said, “As we prepare for one of the most complicated Election Nights in presidential history, we will bring the strength of our reporting team and the most in-depth voter information and polling from all 50 states to give audiences around the world an accurate assessment of the state of the race. We’re committed to being transparent, telling viewers in real time what we know, when we know it and how we know it.”
Norah O’Donnell will lead the primetime coverage on Nov. 3 starting at 7 PM ET, and joining her will be CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King, Face the Nation moderator Margaret Brennan, 60 Minutes correspondent and senior political analyst John Dickerson and CBS News political correspondent Ed O’Keefe. The network said that the studio will use augmented reality and visual displays to present results.
Also providing coverage will be chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett with analysis of exit poll data and reports on voter integrity issues. Contributor Maria Elena Salinas will provide voting trends and Nancy Cordes, chief congressional correspondent, will update Senate and House races. Providing analysis will be Reince Priebus and Valerie Jarrett, along with election law expert David Becker.
CBS News also will provide coverage on platforms including CBSN’s 12 national and local live streams.
O’Donnell will anchor CBS Evening News from the Times Square studio starting on Oct. 26.
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