The Election on TV: The Night Georgia Melted

By Chris Ariens 

The AP’s David Bauder writes about what viewers can expect tomorrow night by looking at elections’ past. Before the magic wall there was…

…in 1976, when NBC built a giant map of the country as a backdrop in their studio. The states were lit in white, and were turned red if Democrat Jimmy Carter won, blue if they backed Republican Gerald Ford. After some early glitches – the plastic Georgia almost melted from a hot light in rehearsal – the map became an instant hit.

Four years later, all three broadcasters had big maps. The colors eventually became uniform to what they are now: blue for Democrats, red for Republicans.