Networks Break in with News of the Death of Muhammad Ali

By Chris Ariens 

Muhammad Ali has died.

Ali, 74, once considered the most well-known man on the planet for his boxing prowess and outsized personality, died today in Phoenix. He’d been taken to a hospital there Tuesday suffering from a respiratory issue. In 1984, just three years after he retired from boxing, Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at age 42.

NBC’s Lester Holt anchored a brief special report at 12:17 a.m. ET.

At 12:19, ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas anchored a special report that ran more than 20 minutes. It included an obituary reported by Robin Roberts, an interview with a documentarian and friend of Ali, and clips from Ali’s career many of which included the late ABC Sports legend Howard Cosell.

WilliamsAliThe ABC special report wrapped around 12:41 a.m. A few minutes later, on the East Coast, a special edition of Nightline began. There will also be a special edition of 20/20 Saturday night at 8 p.m.

KCBS anchor Paul Magers anchored a special report across CBS at 12:49 a.m. TVSpy has more on that.

MSNBC’s Brian Williams broke in at 12:16 and included guests Evander Holyfield, Matt Lauer and Bob Costas on the phone and Daily News sports writer Mike Lupica in studio. CNN’s Natalie Allen broke in at 12:28. Fox News broke in at 12:33. All three networks are continuing with live coverage.

Ali’s funeral is set for Friday in Louisville. The mayor of Louisville, Ali’s hometown, has ordered flags to half staff.

JoshElliottAliMore: CBS’s Josh Elliott anchors a special 48 Hours Saturday at 9 p.m. Fox News Channel’s Geraldo Rivera will anchor a live special called Ali 1942–2016 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

NBC’s Meet the Press has added NBC Sports’ Bob Costas and HBO Real Sports host and former Today show co-host Bryant Gumbel as guests. Gumbel will also deliver a eulogy at Ali’s funeral Friday.