We’re being warned not to expect full election results on Tuesday night, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be tuned into the tube. Here’s what you will find, from both seasoned journalists and cynical comedians planning special coverage of election night in America.
As they have for nearly two decades, the big broadcast networks and CNN will share data collected by a firm called Edison Research, which conducts exit polls — via both in-person and phone surveys of people who have already voted — to anticipate the trends within this year’s electorate. They will not be allowed to report their first findings until 5 p.m. Tuesday, Edison has announced.
The big four broadcast networks, cable news channels, PBS, C-SPAN and WGN America will offer coverage of the election all night long. PBS starts its coverage at 6 p.m. NBC is planning nine hours of election coverage starting at 7 p.m. and has said NBC News will only call a race when there is 99.5 percent statistical confidence in the result. ABC also plans to begin nationwide coverage at 7 p.m. with anchor George Stephanopoulos joined by World News Tonight anchor David Muir and ABC News Live Prime anchor Linsey Davis.
On Fox, Special Report’s Bret Baier and The Story’s Martha MacCallum will headline an eight-hour live special beginning at 6 p.m. CNBC will kick off with a special edition of The News with Shepard Smith at 7 p.m.
On the lighter side, Stephen Colbert will do a live special at 11 p.m. on Showtime called Stephen Colbert’s Election Night 2020: Democracy’s Last Stand: Building Back America Great Again Better 2020.
Also at 11 p.m. Tuesday, The Daily Show on Comedy Central is giving us Votegasm 2020: What Could Go Wrong? (Again) with Trevor Noah and his team of Daily Show correspondents.
NBC’s Saturday Night Live, which has booked comedian Dave Chappelle to host its post-election episode on Nov. 7 — just as he did after the election in 2016 — will air The 2020 SNL Election Special filled with past political sketches at 10 p.m. tonight on NBC.