4th UPDATE, 4:31 PM: NBC, ABC and CBS and cable news networks CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC intend to go early, long and live with the Nelson Mandela memorial tomorrow morning. Broadcasting the NBC Nightly News tonight and Tuesday from Pretoria, Brian Williams will front the network and MSNBC’s coverage of the memorial at Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium starting at 1 AM PT. Among the heads of state in attendance, President Obama, who traveled to South Africa today with the First Lady, is scheduled to speak. Former Presidents Carter, Bush II and Clinton will be there too as will former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Obama will fly back to the U.S. later in the day. ABC’s Good Morning America hosts George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts will anchor their network’s special report coverage at the same time from NYC with Terry Moran and Byron Pitts reporting from South Africa. CBS’ Anne-Marie Green will cover the memorial from New York during the network’s Up To The Minute show in the early hours. All the nets plan to stream the memorial on their websites and platforms.
Related: R.I.P. Nelson Mandela
Fox News will also show the memorial live and have coverage transition to its Fox & Friends First and Fox & Friends morning shows through the early morning. Correspondent Greg Palkot will be reporting directly from the stadium in South Africa. MSNBC will replace the cable newser’s simulcast of NBC’s coverage with reports from Morning Joe at 3 AM PT. At CNN, Anderson Cooper, whose AC 360 is reporting from South Africa this week leading up to the December 15 funeral, Christiane Amanpour and Good Day co-host Chris Cuomo will provide live coverage Tuesday. The broadcast and cable news networks all plan extended coverage of Mandela’s funeral Sunday.
3rd UPDATE, Dec 8 PM: The funeral for Nelson Mandela is scheduled for December 15 but at least one network will have its anchor on the ground in South Africa days beforehand. Brian Williams will anchor the NBC Nightly News from Pretoria starting on Monday, then network’s Lester Holt announced on Sunday’s broadcast. A memorial for the former South Africa president will be held in Johannesburg on Tuesday with President Obama and the First Lady among those in attendance. Unlike Williams, Diane Sawyer is set right now to remain in NYC to helm ABC’s World News Tonight, the network says. Though sources do indicate that could change in the next few days. CBS have not yet announced their plans.
2nd UPDATE, Dec. 6 PM: Instead of The Rachel Maddow Show tonight at 9PM, MSNBC are going to air a Headliners and Legends: Nelson Mandela special in the slot.
UPDATE, 10:50 AM: Programs on the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela will take their place in ABC and CBS’ primetime lineups this weekend, but there won’t be any changes to their schedules. ABC said today that tonight’s 20/20 will be a special Nelson Mandela: A Man Who Changed The World broadcast following the human rights icon’s death yesterday. However, the telecast hosted by David Muir and Robin Roberts won’t cause alterations to ABC’s Friday primetime lineup — it will still air in its regular 10 PM slot. NBC tells me that right now Friday’s 8PM Dateline will stay with its previously scheduled report on a missing CIA employee. On Saturday at 9PM, CBS’ 48 Hours will air a special Nelson Mandela: Father Of A Nation hosted by CBS news anchor Scott Pelley and in its regular time slot. None of the evening news broadcasts are set to expand as NBC and ABC did Thursday.
On cable, History will air an encore of its Miracle Rising: South Africa documentary tonight at 5 PM ET with H2 playing the film Sunday at 5PM ET. None of the cable news networks have special coverage planned this weekend at this point but will continue to focus on Mandela in their regularly scheduled programming. I’ll update if that other outlets shift or add more Mandela programming.
Related: Discovery To Premiere ‘The Making Of Mandela’ Minus Credits On Sunday
PREVIOUS, THURSDAY PM: The passing of the former South African president today has lead to extended news programming on both the cable news and broadcast networks.
Soon after Nelson Mandela‘s death at the age of 95 was officially announced NBC said that the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams would be expanding for a special one-hour broadcast tonight. “The second half hour is optional to stations,” NBC said in a statement. ABC World News With Diane Sawyer will also go to an hour tonight, the network said. CBS tells Deadline that they currently have no plans to extend their Scott Pelley-anchored news broadcasts tonight. All of the Big 4 cut into their regular programming this afternoon to go live to President Obama‘s remarks from the White House at about 2:24 PM. However, none of the networks plan any change to their primetime schedules with Mandela specials tonight.
On the other hand, CNN is giving over all of its Thursday primetime to Mandela. As a part of that, the cable news network says it not be showing the TV debut CNN Films’ An Unreal Dream : The Michael Morton Story tonight at 9PM ET as previously scheduled because of the statesman’s death. Instead the cable news network will have an Anderson Cooper-hosted special report on Mandela’s life and death from 8 PM-11PM, including a one-hour docu titled Nelson Remembered at 9 PM. The Al Reinert-directed Michael Morton documentary will be shown at a later date, says CNN.
Fox News Channel pre-empted The Five for Shep Smith to report on Mandela’s death. At 6PM, Special Report with Bret Baier will continue the network’s live coverage. FNC has no plans to make changes to its primetime schedule at this point but says it will stay on the story throughout the night. MSNBC intends to air the interview President Obama taped earlier today with Chris Matthews at 7 PM ET but will go live with more Mandela coverage at 10 PM ET where they usually have a pre-tape Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell. O’Donnell will host the live 10 PM coverage. BET said that they would extend tonight’s 106 &Park to two hours to 8PM-10PM for Mandela coverage and air a hour-long news special Mandela: Freedom’s Father at 8PM. Earlier, ESPN moved Pardon The Interruption over to ESPN 2 to concentrate on the news of Mandela’s death.
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