U.S. networks interrupt coverage for news of Queen Elizabeth II’s death

U.S. networks also offered special coverage of the poor health and subsequent death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II

All of the major broadcast and cable news networks interrupted programming or other reports shortly after 1:30 p.m. eastern time. 

The royal family announced the queen’s death at 6:30 p.m. British Summer Time.

CBS News was notably the only U.S. network to have a special open prepared, which ran immediately after its standard special report open. Norah O’Donnell anchored the report.

Featuring soft music and a white and violet color palette interspersed with historical photos of Elizabeth, the open concluded with a title slide of sorts reading “Remember Queen Elizabeth II” along with her years of birth and death under it.

The look followed the network’s current practice of using shapes and curves suggested by the CBS eye icon as the basis for graphics.

Neither ABC nor NBC had special opens prepared, despite Elizabeth having been in poor health for some time now and news of her being particularly unwell reported earlier in the day. Not all networks use special looks for special reports, however.

NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt anchored for NBC while Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes, who were already in the studio for “GMA3: What You Need to Know” handled ABC’s report from the show’s Times Square studio.

ABC World News Tonight” anchor David Muir had been in Ukraine to interview that country’s president earlier in the week and anchored Sept. 7, 2022’s newscast from Poland, so his travel schedule may have meant he was not immediately available.

On cable, MSNBC was in the middle of coverage of the queen’s health when anchor Chris Jansing made the announcement of the death after a brief pause.

MSNBC would eventually switch to using a video wall with an image of Buckingham Palace and a simulated banner reading “Remembering Queen Elizabeth II” on a Union Jack background, which appears to be inspired by the look it used for coverage of the death of Prince Philip, the queen’s late husband, in April 2021.

Later, the network began using an extended open using a similar design, including into the morning of Sept. 9, 2022.

An additional collage-like background was also used, and the network also switched over to using a background with thin gold frame elements similar to the one used during Phillip coverage.

CNN was at commercial when the news came in but quickly broke in with its standard breaking news open and tossed to a team on the ground in England to break the news from what sounded like a rather noisy press area; other reports and audio checks could be heard in the background.

It would later switch to an Elizabeth-specific graphic.

Fox News had shifted gears away from the queen’s health, and was airing a segment on the arrest of, as the banner put it, a “(Nevada) dem official” allegedly murdering a journalist when John Roberts had to cut the segment short to deliver the news.

The network used its standard “Alert” branding and stinger while also adding a “Breaking News” flag above the main lower third. There was also the “Alert” in the sliver below that banner and a ticker labeled “Alert” as well.

Fox would later add in a stinger-style open using the black, gray and gold look it typically uses during coverage of notable deaths, including into the following morning.


Stay tuned for more coverage as networks evolve their coverage plans and continue to cover the death of Queen Elizabeth II.