Bin Laden Killed: Cable Channels Call In Big Guns To Cover the News

By Alex Weprin Comment

Updated: With the unexpected announcement that President Obama would be making a statement late Sunday night, the cable news channels scrambled to get their top anchors on-air.

Fox News was first to confirm the news that Osama Bin Laden was dead at 10:40 PM ET. Geraldo Rivera was at the desk at the time, and responded to the news by saying:

“Happy days, happy days. This is the greatest — give me a wide shot of the general. This is the greatest night of my career. The bum is dead. I am so blessed and privileged to be at this desk at this moment.”

CNN confirmed the news at 10:42 Pm ET, and NBC News (and MSNBC) confirmed the news at 10:45 PM ET. All three networks engaged in speculation as to what the news was about from around 10 PM until their confirmed it, and all three raised Bin Laden as a possibility.

On Fox News, Geraldo anchored until the midnight hour, when Bret Baier took over, and was joined by Greta Van Susteren, Jennifer Griffin and producer Chad Pergram. Jon Scott anchored from 2-5 AM. Scott anchored for FNC during the network’s coverage of the 9-11 attacks.

On CNN, Wolf Blitzer rushed to the Washington DC studio, where he anchored until late at night/early this morning. John King and Ed Henry also joined Blitzer during the coverage, and both seemed flustered as they delivered the news (as were nearly all of the anchors that brushed to work late Sunday).

On MSNBC, Brian Williams anchored until 2AM ET, and was joined by David Gregory, Andrea Mitchell, Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow, Tom Brokaw, Ron Allen and Mike Viqueira. From 2-4 AM Thomas Roberts anchored coverage.