Here’s What Viewers Should Expect From CBS News on Election Night

By A.J. Katz 

CBS News and Stations will deliver live midterm elections coverage on Tuesday, Nov. 8. The CBS News’ America Decides: Campaign ‘22 election night special begins at 5 p.m. ET on CBS News Streaming and on CBS TV from 8-11 p.m. ET/PT, again from 11-11:35 p.m. ET for select CBS affiliates and continues from 12:37-2 a.m. ET live across all time zones.

CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell will anchor America Decides: Campaign ‘22 primetime coverage from the CBS News Election Headquarters at 1515 Broadway in Times Square with CBS Mornings co-host Gayle King; chief political analyst, anchor of Primetime with John Dickerson and senior national correspondent John Dickerson and Face the Nation moderator and chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan.

Also joining the election night coverage from Election HQ in Times Square are elections and surveys executive director Anthony Salvanto, chief election and campaign correspondent Robert Costa, chief White House correspondent Nancy Cordes, chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett, chief national affairs and justice correspondent Jeff Pegues, senior White House and political correspondent Ed O’Keefe, congressional correspondent Scott MacFarlane and national correspondent and CBS News Streaming anchor Vladimir Duthiers.


CBS News correspondent Natalie Morales will anchor coverage from California with a focus on key West Coast races; CBS Mornings co-host Tony Dokoupil from Florida; national correspondents and anchors of the CBS Weekend News Jericka Duncan and Adriana Diaz from Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, respectively; Manuel Bojorquez from Nevada; Nancy Chen from New Hampshire; Nikole Killion from Georgia; Kris Van Cleave from Arizona; and Omar Villafranca from Texas. CBS News contributors Leslie Sanchez, Joel Payne, Ashley Etienne, Chris Krebs, David Becker and Mick Mulvaney will provide political and election analysis. CBS News legal analyst Rikki Kleiman will provide legal analysis.

CBS News’ 2022 election night coverage plans are substantial, and we caught up with David Reiter, the executive in charge of CBS News’ election night 2022 coverage, to find out what else viewers should expect from the network this year.

This is Reiter’s first election night at CBS News after many years at ABC News, including executive-producing ABC’s 2018 midterm election night. Here’s what he had to tell us.

TVNewser: What can the viewer expect from your network’s election night coverage that he or she didn’t see in 2020 or 2018?

Reiter: For the first time since CBS News started broadcasting election nights in 1948, we will have a Democracy Desk in the studio to track all the challenges to American democracy. Our Democracy Desk team is organized broadly around three key areas: How the hundreds of election deniers on the ballot are doing; reporting, in real-time, threats to candidates and election workers and issues at polling places; explaining how the vote is counted in different states and why that might mean we’re all in for a long night… or nights.

Our Data desk, in addition to projecting races and digging into the vote in each state, has a suite of new tools to help fuel our coverage. We will be able to explain how much outstanding vote is yet to be counted for any individual race and which candidate will likely benefit from it the most.  We will be able to separate early votes from Election Day votes and tell you how much day-of vote the trailing candidate needs to catch up. For some key states, we will be able to look at how individual neighborhoods voted – a much more granular look than the county-by-county vote that most others focus on.

These two desks flank the main anchor desk where Norah O’Donnell, Gayle King, John Dickerson, and Margaret Brennan will be during the coverage as they deliver the latest reporting and analysis for viewers and toss to the other members of the team in the studio. We have such a dynamic space to play at 1515 Broadway. It’s a producer’s dream sandbox.

We’re also excited about our exclusive reporting on voter influencer groups. To really understand an election, you have to understand the motivations — and the lives — of the Americans voting in it. But too often our politics misses the point, and just describes people as demographic groups or party labels. We decided to do better. We’ve got the data for it: tens of thousands of interviews in our CBS News polling over the year where people have expressed themselves and how they see politics. Here’s what we learned from it all: the groups who are the influencers of 2022, whose ideas and choices are steering the conversation now and likely deciding the midterms: Pressured Parents, Trump True-Believers, The Young and Restless, and Restoring Roe Voters. We’ll follow them all the way through election night itself with our surveys, to see how they vote and if they vote, which is often more critical in these polarized times.

We’re also leaning heavily into our partnership with CBS-owned stations. The local anchors and political reporters there have been living these races for months, and they will complement the reporting from our excellent national political team. Our local reporters and their coverage will be featured on election night and all of our platforms.

Finally, our coverage is really a true collaboration between our CBS News Streaming and broadcast teams. We will begin on streaming at 5 p.m. ET with our same team of amazing political reporters. The network will join the coverage at 8 p.m. ET.

What lessons did you take away from 2020 and 2018 that you’re keeping in mind for this year’s coverage?

Clarity, transparency and straight-down-the-middle analysis. We will tell our viewers what we know and what we don’t know.  If we make a projection (or aren’t making a projection), we will explain why. If we encounter dis or misinformation, we will respond with facts and solid reporting.  The viewers want us to focus on the key races, the battle for control of Congress, the broader themes or trends that emerge on election night, and the health of our democracy – we plan to do just that.

Where will you be spending most of election night? If it’s in the control room, who will you be seated near/next to?

I will be in our main control room all night at the CBS Broadcast Center in New York City. I’ll be next to our excellent director, Alison Hawley, unless she’s killed me before election night.  Seriously, our control room, technical and creative teams are amazing, as is our special events team, led by senior broadcast producer Jamie McGlinchy and producers Vicki Kasselman, Andy Liebman and Mark Sturchio.

Election nights are a team effort, and we have help from every corner of the news division. Mary Hager, executive producer of Face the Nation with Margaret Brennan and our executive editor of politics, will be in our Times Square studio and we will use the control rooms there and in Washington to help guide us during our nine hours of coverage.

If past is prologue, some of these races may not be decided on Nov. 8, or even Nov. 9. Do you have contingency plans set if this goes on for multiple days, and if so, what are they?

Red Bull… But in all honesty, we are ready to cover this story for as long as it goes, both in the field and with our teams in New York and Washington, D.C. We will continue our coverage across all of our broadcasts from CBS Mornings, the CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell, and Face the Nation, among others. We also have the advantage of being a true multi-platform newsgathering operation thanks to our CBS stations, CBS News Streaming, CBS News Radio, and



David Reiter