Networks rush to put together evening newscasts after surprise verdict announcement

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With the verdict in the hush money trial of Donald Trump coming late in the afternoon on the east coast, the major U.S. networks were left with little time to prepare for their evening newscasts with the news.

Rundowns were likely quickly tossed out even as ABC, CBS and NBC all had their top anchors on the air reporting the news of the verdict.

The details below refer to the networks’ first feeds only. The broadcasts will likely be updated for much of the western part of the country but are not immediately available to NewscastStudio. In most cases, however, the overnight airings of the broadcasts use a taped version of the west coast edition. 

ABC

ABC News rolled right from its special report into “ABC World News Tonight,” crashing into a cold open of just the newscast’s intro with familiar fanfare and eschewing its normal epically-long tease headlines. The headlines segments are typically pre-produced, so there was likely no time for anchor David Muir to record one May 30, 2024.

Muir reported from the same anchor desk he had been seated at for some time since the network interrupted programming earlier in the day.

CBS

CBS News appeared to go off the air to briefly, likely to allow Norah O’Donnell some time to prep for the broadcast. In the Chicago market, WBBM, a CBS-owned station, aired local news from 5 to 5:30 p.m. central time (which would have been 6 to 6:30 p.m. on the east coast, a time during which most stations also run local news).

The tease and headline segment was also significantly reduced.

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NBC

NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt had been co-anchoring a special report with “Today” anchor Savannah Guthrie on NBC, but he disappeared at some point.

The duo had been anchoring in front of the curved video wall of Studio 1A, which “Nightly” and “Today” share. It appears that Holt moved over to the secondary anchor position used for “Nightly,” a small desk set up in front of intersecting planes of LED video walls.

This meant he did not stand in front of the curved wall for the top of the broadcast as he normally does.

NBC aired a significantly shorter tease headline segment, and Holt may have been reading it live because he appeared to briefly stumble on a word.

Correspondent Laura Jarrett appeared on “Nightly” with she and Holt appearing to try to vamp a bit until she tossed to a package, which had some odd audio and video editing glitches, likely because it had been finished just moments before.

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