The news of the death of Whitney Houston broke at 7:57pmET, when the Associated Press sent a breaking news alert and Tweet announcing the news. The cable news networks began covering the story moments later, without yet knowing a cause of death or where she was when she died. Houston was 48 years old.
MSNBC broke into “Lockup” at 8:07pmET. Paige Hopkins anchored live coverage which included additional information from entertainment reporter Courtney Hazlett.
CNN broke into “Black in America” at 8:11pm, with Don Lemon anchoring. Larry King phoned in and gave his thoughts, comparing Houston to Judy Garland who died at the age of 47, a year younger than Houston. “People should not die young,” said King. King also mentioned he’s attending Clive Davis’s Grammy party tonight and would report tomorrow on reaction from guests. Davis was Houston’s mentor.
Fox News Channel ran a lower third graphic with the news as the pre-taped “Huckabee” aired. Update: Harris Faulkner broke in to “Huckabee” at 8:28pmET and began continuing coverage. After running an obituary story on Houston’s life, the newschannel took live shots from LA station KTTV FOX11, which hovered over the Beverly Hilton hotel, reportedly where Houston died and where the Clive Davis pre-Grammy party is to be held tonight. Judge Jeanine Pirro is covering the story in the 9pmET hour and Faulkner returns for live coverage from 10pm-1amET.
> More: ABC News aired a special report at 8:12pm, which, in the Eastern and Central time zones interrupted a Charlie Brown special. Anchor David Muir told viewers, “we want to alert parents who might have children in the room,” before reporting Houston’s death. Muir then updated the “World News” broadcast for the West Coast leading with the news at 5:30pmPT. “NBC Nightly News” updated with Jinah Kim in the Los Angeles bureau at 5:43pmPT. The “CBS Evening News” updated the West Coast versions of their newscast at 5:45pmPT and ran a crawl across the network earlier, at 8:12pmET.
> More: MSNBC’s Rev. Al Sharpton phoned into the network to share his thoughts as he’s known Houston for 20 years. He phoned into CNN later, around 9:30pm.
> More: Piers Morgan joined CNN’s coverage just before 10pmET and interviewed Simon Cowell who said he was “very upset” by the news. He also cleared up rumors that Houston was being considered for a spot as a judge on the “X-Factor.” “When people want to be on one
of these shows, somebody tells someone that they are interested,” said Cowell. “We were, ironically going to meet Monday, and of course one of the names we were going to talk about as a mentor was going to be Whitney Houston. I have no idea genuinely whether she would have been interested. But given the choice, I would have liked to take her under my wing as well.”
> More: George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts will be anchoring “Good Morning America” tomorrow. Stephanopoulos will also be anchoring “This Week,” as usual.
> More: Lester Holt anchored a special report just after MidnightET during “Saturday Night Live” and announced NBC is putting together a “Dateline” special Sunday night at 7pmET/PT.