Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos during election night coverage on ABC.
For all the screwups, awkward vamping, GIF-ready facial expressions and ginned-up suspense, you just can't beat live television coverage for an election.
Barack Obama won a second term last night before millions of American viewers, and cable TV had its chance to shine. Comedy Central's party at the Edison Ballroom had plenty of the network's stars talking about the election. "It makes me anxious," confessed Jordan Peele, who plays the president on the network's Key & Peele alongside Keegan-Michael Key. The duo don't have many recurring characters on their show, but Obama (Peele) and his Anger Translator (Key) are two of them, and the pair had three promos recorded for the evening: one for a win, one for a loss and one for a race too close to call. The winning promo ran after a live edition of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.
Also attracting attention on Tuesday evening was Diane Sawyer, who appeared to slur her words, called a colleague by the wrong name and had to make do with an 11 p.m. power outage that left that misnamed colleague (Josh Elliott) interviewing people in Times Square.
And Times Square was election central on Tuesday, with Fox News renting screens all around the location—notably the huge series of displays above the American Eagle store, right next to the TKTS booth, where CNN had mounted a screen large enough for people to sit on the booth's raked roof as though they were watching a movie. Depending on where you were looking, you could get both networks' angles on every facet of the election, given to you by anchors whose noses were several meters high.
CNN also had the Empire State Building tricked out to illustrate the returns—the building's multicolor display changed to majority red (Romney) or majority blue (Obama) as the network's projections demanded.
Romney delivered his concession speech at 1 a.m., saying that he'd called President Obama and congratulated him. "Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him, and for this great nation."