NBC News Specials Unit Has Produced a Record Number of Special Reports This Year

By A.J. Katz 

From state funerals to cabinet resignations, shootings and bomb threats, to a hearing for a Supreme Court Justice nominee, NBC News’ Specials team had a pretty busy 2018.

The NBC News Specials team produced more Special Reports than ever before, 166 NBC News Special Reports (and 1 Crawl) in 2018, while being on the air for more than 82 hours – most of those without a commercial break.  Those numbers do not include the network’s top-rated coverage of the Royal Wedding.

“We’ve had another incredible year of news, airing over 165 special reports and clocking over 82 on-air hours,” NBC News and MSNBC svp of specials Rashida Jones told TVNewser. “We beat our record from last year, which has become a tradition these past few years thanks to the superbly talented team we have across the network and MSNBC.  There was obviously no shortage of news in 2018 and I’m proud that we were able to deliver in-depth, large-scale coverage for the events we could foresee, as well as instant, authoritative reporting on breaking stories.”

The NBC News Specials team produces programming not exclusively for the NBC Network, but also produces breaking news programming for MSNBC and other NBCU-affiliated networks. The team is responsible for everything from breaking news cut-ins, to lengthier programming, such as the aforementioned hearings for then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, which lasted a whopping 9 hours and 17 minutes.

In addition to the Kavanaugh hearing, there were 4 MSNBC Simulcasts (Death of Sen. John McCain, Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting and two specials on Death of President George H.W. Bush); 4 Overnight Specials, and 17 specials that exceeded one hour in length.

Here are additional examples of this year’s Special Reports:

  • 40+ joint news conferences & White House briefings/presidential statements on myriad events.
  • 13 hurricane specials and 1 earthquake special
  • 9 shootings, terror attacks & bomb threats
  • 10 indictments, plea deals and then reversals of jail time – Rick Gates, 25 indicted Russians, Michael Cohen (3 Specials), Paul Manafort (3 specials) and Michael Flynn (3 specials).
  • 6 Trump cabinet esignations
  • 5 obituary specials including funerals – Billy Graham, Barbara Bush, Aretha Franklin, John McCain, President Bush.
  • 4 #MeToo specials (3 Bill Cosby & 1 Harvey Weinstein)
  • 2 Congressional Hearings
  • 2 International Summits (not including the G20 Summit)
  • 1 new Supreme Court Justice (which generated 14 hour-plus-long Special Reports)
  • 1 Thai Cave Rescue