The Death of Prince Dominates TV News Today

By Chris Ariens 

TMZPrinceHLN was in the middle of a live report with TMZ about the death of former pro wrestler Chyna, when reports of a death at the Minnesota estate of singer Prince came into the newsroom.

At 12:52 p.m. ET, just as anchor Mike Galanos was finishing his conversation with TMZ’s Dax Holt, Holt turned to the newsroom and said, “Hold on one second. You guys, is it true? Prince has passed away, it has been confirmed.”

Galanos was quick to point out, “CNN has not confirmed this.”


A few minutes later Fox News and CNN reported a death at Prince’s estate. Meanwhile, other entertainment trade publications, including Variety, reported that Prince has died:

Fox News, via the AP, reported Prince’s death at 1:14 p.m. ABC News confirmed the news at 1:19 p.m. ET.

PrinceMSNBCBrian Williams broke in on MSNBC with the news at 1:22 p.m. “Of all the things we are called upon to announce in the news, to break here, what an unlikely thing to say that we are receiving confirmation at the age of 57, Prince has died.” Al Sharpton joined Williams to talk about Prince’s legacy.

At 1:23 p.m., Harry Smith anchored an NBC News Special Report. At the same time, Don Dahler was anchoring a network special on CBS. CBSN has been in continuing coverage as well. CNN, with Wolf Blitzer anchoring, confirmed the news on-air at 1:26 p.m.

The cable networks have also been dipping in to coverage from the powerful local stations in Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSNBC using affiliate KARE and FNC using Fox-owned KMSP) which have been in continuing coverage of the death of the local icon who was known worldwide. WCCO’s Reg Chapman reported for a second CBS network report at 1:56 p.m. from outside Prince’s estate.

FBN will air a special edition of ‘Kennedy’ tonight, 8 p.m., focusing on the life of Prince. Lisa “Kennedy” Montgomery is a former MTV VJ.

Fox News religion correspondent Lauren Green grew up with Prince in Minnesota, and went to grade school and high school with him. Talking with fellow Minnesotan, Gretchen Carlson, on her FNC show this afternoon, Green said, “His cousin played on the same block as my cousin. We kind of played in the same areas but we were never close. As we got older, I found out that he was this great musician. I was also studying classical piano so we were in two different worlds, but loving the same thing.” Green also stared in one of Prince’s music videos, playing a news anchor.

We have not yet heard from NBC News anchor Tamron Hall, who had the day off from the Today show and her MSNBC show. “Prince and I, if you don’t know already, are very close. We talk pretty much every day,” she said on the Today show back in September, then surprised her co-anchors when Prince phoned in:

On his FNC show, Shepard Smith said he was watching some of the coverage from across the street, about Prince’s giving nature. “I heard Al Sharpton over on MSNBC talking about this, about how (Prince) would give money to his action network, and (Sharpton) didn’t know where it was coming from.”