BREAKING… Refresh For latest updates… TUESDAY 9:43 PM: FNC reports that Mitt Romney has just called President Obama and conceded. FNC’s Carl Cameron now says Romney aides expect his public concession speech to come at 9:55 PM. This happens just as Virginia is called for Obama (courtesy of Politico news alert). Mitt comes out and concedes. Look for this guy — the ‘Hollywood” guy: Romney Strategist’s Ties To George Clooney — to get much of the blame for Mitt’s losing campaign. I’m outta here because the moronic TV news anchors and pundits are already talking about 2016. Ugh.
TUESDAY 8:57 PM: Drama, drama, drama, tonight on Fox News Channel this Election Night. Now Karl Rove is backing down after FNC demonstrates his Ohio numbers were outdated and that President Obama indeed won Ohio. Fascinating television but also public humiliation for Rove. Ouch! FNC handled an extremely awkward situation very professionally. While this drama unfolds, Obama picks up battleground Nevada. Then Colorado.
TUESDAY 8:35 PM: FNC’s Decision Desk now tells Megyn Kelly “we’re quite comfortable” with calling Ohio for President Obama and disputes Karl Rove’s claims. FNC number-crunchers says “quite a lot” of Democratic votes still out there to count despite what Rove contends. Talk about fascinating television!
TUESDAY 8:28 PM: FNC pundit Karl Rove just said on air to Chris Wallace: “I think this is premature” to declare President Obama the winner of Ohio. “We have to be very cautious about intruding into this process.” Replies Wallace with long sigh: “Not so fast.”
FNC says Mitt Romney not conceding and Republican Party not accepting this result. Karl Cameron explains that Romney campaign “frantically” adding up numbers. “There you have it; Romney campaign [has] no plans to come down. The Romney Campaign wants a little more waiting time.”
Comedy Central started its Election Night coverage 12 minutes ago. Has Stephen Colbert declared for the 2016 Presidential Race yet?
FNC doesn’t call Ohio or President’s re-election until 5 minutes later. After a few minutes of news anchors’ shock and dismay, Fox News shows celebration inside Obama’s Election Night campaign headquarters at Chicago’s Fairmont Hotel.
FNC’s Brit Hume acknowledges on air that Fox News didn’t believe the polls because couldn’t fathom Obama doing that well in the election. Now Hume admits that the polls were right.
FNC starts criticizing
TUESDAY 8:08 PM: NBC first to call Iowa for Obama. CNN first to project that Democrats will retain U.S. Senate.
TUESDAY 8:07 PM: White House Press Office releases Pool Report that “The POTUS motorcade has arrived at the Fairmont Hotel at 9:43 PM. Potus is joined by Flotus and the first daughters. Pool continues to hold in our finely appointed bus, today’s home away from home.”
TUESDAY 8:05 PM: MSNBC’s Al Sharpton looks like he’s late for a dinner theatre production of Guys And Dolls.
TUESDAY 8:04 PM: Current TV owner Al Gore wouldn’t make any predictions tonight. Now he tweets: “I am confident in saying that President Obama is going to carry the state of Florida tonight.” Spooky 2000 spectre. Somewhere former GE chief Jack Welch is trying to break into NBC and force the newsroom to declare the state for Romney.
TUESDAY 7:57 PM: MSNBC’s Chris Mathews and Rachel Maddow are getting positively giddy over the prospect of an Obama win. David Axelrod is on there now trying to dampen them down. (Next Matthews is going to tell us he feels a “thrill” going up his leg…)
HBO’s Bill Maher tweets: “Bad night for rich idiots. I just wish Conneticut had more elective offices for [WWE's] Linda McMahon to not win.”
TUESDAY 7:42 PM: U.S. stock futures sliding as election returns roll in. Ah, but Big Media will need an army of Brink’s trucks to cart off the campaign and superPac cash behind all those TV ads. Anticipate great earnings next quarters.
TUESDAY 7:23 PM: FNC pundit Sarah Palin sounding negative from Alaska. “Cross my fingers, I’m hoping that things can turn around in these remaining hours of the evening,” she tells Greta Van Susteren on prospects of a Romney win Ohio.
FNC’s Megyn Kelly just told Karl Rove that “many of our guests” are sounding like they think this is slipping away. Rove gives long complicated lecture how Ohio is still very winnable for Romney.
Megyn Kelley just jabbed at Rove after his county-by county Ohio analysis: “Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better? Or is this really a win?”
TUESDAY 7:10 PM: Please reassure me that NBC wasn’t considering foisting The Viscount Of Vapidity Ryan Seacrest on viewers this Election Night. Sure sounds like it from Ryan’s just posted tweet: “wish I were in democracy plaza with my NBC team tonight…looks great”
TUESDAY 7:07 PM: FNC pundit Laura Ingraham turns on Romney in a tweet: “FOUR LEGS BROKEN: Mitt loses “home states” of Mass., Mich., NH… and soon –California!”
TUESDAY 7:01 PM: NBC starting to project that Obama is “in the lead” in two battleground states but too close to call.
Now CNN’s Wolf Blitzer is fraying. “Florida, Florida, Florida!” the CNN anchor yelled while looking at the tight results in the sunshine state. “Can you believe what’s going on in Florida?” he asks John King. Maybe too many Red Bulls?
TUESDAY 6:53 PM: FNC definitely trailing most news channels on some major state races for President and U.S. Senate.
TUESDAY 6:47 PM: Catching up with CNN’s Piers Morgan who tweets, “Florida’s tighter than a gnat’s backside. Brace yourselves for a long night… possibly week….” He’s obviously channeling Dan Rather. Next it’ll be a Texas horntoad.
TUESDAY 6:34 PM: CBS first to call battleground state New Hampshire for Obama.
TUESDAY 6:33 PM: FNC’s Chris Wallace weighs in about how Romney’s Plan B and Plan C are now burned bridges. Only Plan A remains. Which is that Mitt must win Ohio. FNC pundit Karl Rove tries to rally newsroom’s (and viewers’) hopes that Romney still can pull out a win. His politically polar opposite, FNC pundit Joe Trippi, is agreeing with Rove. But Joe, too, starts talking Florida recount.
Finally, Chris Wallace makes mention that this is the first time in (when?) that both Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates have lost their home states, Romney-Massachusetts and Ryan-Wisconsin.
TUESDAY 6:26 PM: FNC just called Wisconsin for Obama before NBC did. Doesn’t even mention that GOP VP candidate Paul Ryan didn’t carry his own state.
More FNC: Megyn Kelly claims Florida can’t be called before it’s within spitting distance of all votes counted. (Well she said that more politely.) “Let’s not even mention the ‘R’ word yet,” she shocks, adding sotto voce, “Recount.”
FNC pundit Tucker Carlson starts advising Republican Party what changes need to be made, then trails off. FNC newsroom sounding very depressed despite official 153 to 153 electoral count right now.
TUESDAY 6:20 PM: Flopsweat breaking out on the FNC ‘America’s Election Headquarters’ set. Megyn Kelly looks like one of these Keane paintings. Lone Democrat on the set Bob Beckel chortles, “If Mitt loses Ohio, he’ll make Custer look like he’s in a good spot.”
TUESDAY 6:22 PM: Wow, FNC almost 20 minutes later than some other networks projecting that Republicans would retain their U.S. House Of Representatives’ majority.
TUESDAY 6:15 PM: NBC/MSNBC first to call Pennsylvania for Obama. First legitimate battleground state. Though few diehard Democrats thought the President would lose it even if Republicans made a last-minute quarterback sneak into the state. Maddow’s scowl now just a frown. Obama’s David Axelrod gets to keep his mustache.
TUESDAY 6:11 PM: Watch out – the inmates are starting to shiv one another. “We know no swing states yet,” says MSNBC’s frustrated Rachel Maddow who accuses her colleague Chuck Todd of “misleading us” by pledging everyone would know the election’s outcome by 9 PM ET (6 PM PT). They don’t. we don’t. Why do i think his punishment will be having to move into Maddow’s New England country house that barely has indoor plumbing. (Well, it didn’t even have TV until recently…)
TUESDAY 6:06 PM: More standup comedy, this time from MSNBC’s Chris Matthews who announces, “Polls are good.” Because he’s preening that they’ve been accurate so far tonight. Hey, it’s early yet. No Florida. No Ohio.
TUESDAY 6:01 PM: More state polls closed. No news network has dared to call a single rough-and-ready battleground state yet. (Michigan and New Jersey called for Obama but they weren’t really in doubt…) NBC News now is reporting that “Obama is in the lead in Pennsylvania” – but that’s not a definitive win yet.
TUESDAY 5:59 PM: No WWE in the U.S. Senate! NBC projects that Democrat Chris Murphy beat Republican wrestling mogul Linda McMahon (her second try) in Connecticut. Smackdown…
TUESDAY 5:57 PM: Everytime I channel surf to MSNBC, there’s another commercial running for cars and V8. Not V8 engines. V8 canned juice. Ugh.
TUESDAY 5:51 PM: First ABC covers Romney’s dinner reservations. Now the network’s George Stephanopoulos asks Obama campaign guru David Axelrod the vital question — drumroll, please — of whether he’ll shave off his mustache as promised if the President loses Pennsylvania. “Well, tell me what your next projection is,” Axelrod pleaded. Then, he pledged again, “This mustache will be on my face next week, I guarantee you.” ABC tonight is official winner of “stupid trivia” election coverage.
TUESDAY 5:41 PM: And now for the standup comedy part of the evening: Bill O’Reilly just joined the FNC team on-air. He’s criticizing the Romney campaign for not listening to him (and voters) for being more concerned about Hurricane Sandy than the killing of American diplomats in Benghazi. Or was it the other way around? What an assclown for O’Reilly to make tonight all about him. And to whine as if Romney already has lost the election when both candidates are neck and neck in electoral votes. The Factor host also talked about “the white establishment” becoming a minority in America and Obama’s lock on African-American and Hispanic and women voters.
TUESDAY 5:36 PM: What is with that retro ABC bell that rings when they have results? First, it sounds more like a ‘thud’. Secondly, I’m expecting the entire newsroom to don 19th century green eyeshades any moment now.
TUESDAY 5:25 PM: The PBS set couldn’t be barer, uglier, or cheaper. If those anchors could wear sackcloths, they would – given that Romney wants to stop federal funding for public broadcasting including Jim Lehrer and Big Bird. Beauty (Michael Beschloss) And The Beast (Richard Norton Smith) are the presidential historians on set: smart guys too milquetoast for cable news’ Fight Club-style of political coverage. Thank god.
TUESDAY 5:20 PM: Even Diane and George were laughing at the absurdity of the extraneous coverage when one of the ABC correspondents got stuck reporting on what the Romney family was having for dinner tonight. (Pasta.)
TUESDAY 5:14 PM: Who knows better about razor-close Presidential elections? “Sometimes it goes on for 36 days,” deadpanned Al Gore on his Current TV when asked what Election Night is like for the candidates. He called tonight “the drama of American democracy”. Current’s Gore and gang have taken Twitter to a new high. Half of Current’s live news screen is a scroll of tweets from the campaigns, pundits, and media including the channel’s own hosts.
TUESDAY 5:01 PM: More polls closing – battleground states New Hampshire and Pennsylvania and Florida (which is split between Eastern and Central time zones). In all, 25 states are done voting. ABC News’ Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos are just so darn comfortable with each other. But Diane’s overacting is annoying to the max. Comes across as fake. I can overlook it because the entire news team is that good. But the set is too bare and the pedestrians too distracting.
TUESDAY 4:55 PM: If you like slow, solemn, and grey-haired Election Night coverage – not that there’s anything wrong with that – then channel surf to CBS. Or take a slug of Nyquil.
TUESDAY 4:55 PM: Oops. Coming out of commercial NBC had a beauty shot of the red, white, and blue neon lit-up Empire State Building which is CNN’s big stunt.
Tuesday 4:45 PM: My gawd but NBC and MSNBC have the gawdiest election set in ‘Democracy Plaza’ (aka Rockefeller Plaza). I just tuned into NBC coverage which consists of Tom Brokaw putting viewers to sleep. Maybe Brian Williams needed a bathroom break.
“If we were to call this year’s election cycle a rock’n’roll concert, we’d call it ‘Rolling Thunder'” – Tom Brokaw as he does two minute summation of the primaries events, debates and economics of this Presidential cycle. Jersey boy Brian Williams quotes Bruce Springsteen.
TUESDAY 4:30 PM: Now that Rachel Maddow has taken charge of the anchor desk at MSNBC, it’s an exciting newscast. What CNN doesn’t need right now is Anderson Cooper’s laconic snark. “That’s going to be the most over-used phrase of the night, ‘it’s going to be a long night'” – he says to Election Night GOP panelist Alex Castellanos who uses the phrase.
First Hollywood mention! Castellanos is bringing out that old saw how voters may be attracted to Obama and the Democrats just because “they are the cool kids” with supporters in “Hollywood and the media”. Doubtful Tinseltown will get many mentions tonight. So play a drinking game only if you wish to remain sober tonight.
Blitzer blathering on — yet again — about those CNN neon red and blue lights on top of the Empire State Building. He says the top floor of the building will light up with one color once a winner is called. “If President Obama wins, it will go blue. If Gov Romney wins, it will go red.” If I give you $100,000, Wolf, will you shut the fuck up about this?
Tuesday 4:25 PM: First mild laugh of the night (for me at least) – CNN’s Jessica Yellin telling Wolf Blitzer that Obama aides described the President as “calm, serene and excited”. (Film at 11…)
Next giggle: “We can’t tell you anything about Virginia, except that it is a battleground state” – FNC’s Megyn Kelly after the polls closed there.
Fox News calls Vermont for Obama but tells it like it was: “A liberal bastion where neither candidate did any campaigning” – Bret Baier.
Small oops moment: NBC’s David Gregory calls President Obama “President Bush” when talking about Virginia results. Especially when compared to NBC’s big oops moment last night showing on air a test screen that Romney had won the election already. Let the conspiracy theoories start anew.
Tuesday 4:15 PM: Tonight is the first Presidential election that ABC’s Diane Sawyer, CBS’s Scott Pelley, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, FNC’s Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly have anchored. 2012 also marks the first full presidential cycle without Tim Russert on the scene for NBC and MSNBC. (Remember his infamous whiteboard from 2000? He gave it to the Smithsonian.)
Tuesday 4:05 PM: Instead of projecting urgency, FNC is delivering laughs. Seriously. Anchors are chuckling as they describe how the exit polls are different from Real Clear Politics’ pre-Election Day findings. Guys, they’re only marginally different. Now every news outlet saying Virginia is too close to call.
TUESDAY 4 PM: Now the TV newscasters are reminding us – like duh – that 60 electoral votes are up for grabs now that the polls have closed in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont, and the battleground state of Virginia which as we all know is the only one that matters. Nice urgency in all the anchors’ and reporters’ voices to bring home the feeling that these screens and charts truly matter. But it’s going to be a long night: Wolf Blitzer says CNN can’t make a prediction of who’ll win Virginia right now. “Take a look at this!” he shouts because exit polls show Virginia is 49%-49% for Obama-Romney. My heart just skipped a beat.
TUESDAY 3:50 PM: CNN and FNC jump out to an early street cred lead by focusing on the exit poll news and not more meaningless stale punditry like MSNBC. But Wolf Blitzer loses major points by repeating again and again ad nauseum in-house promos for CNN’s Empire State Building neon electoral count. Dopey idea, since the overwhelming majority of CNN viewers — what little are left, I should add — live outside NYC and can’t see it. FNC keeps jumping to its state by state on-the-scene live reporters who mostly look like deer caught in headlights. But the segments are fast moving and well directed. The network news divisions don’t start coverage for another 10 minutes.
TUESDAY 3 PM: It’s too late now to bicker about Obama vs Romney because few minds will be changed. Besides, Deadline Hollywood is a showbiz media site – and tonight is the TV news industry’s equivalent of the Holiday box office. So come here to kvetch about the election coverage on CNN vs Fox vs MSNBC … or CBS vs NBC vs ABC … or The Daily Show With Jon Stewart/Colbert Report vs C-span… Remember, if you have nothing nice to say about the anchors and hosts and pundits – then I’ll definitely post your comment. That said, The Deadline Team will try to cover the most egregious small screen screw-ups of Election Night 2013… oops, 2012. Here’s hoping there are lots of them!