Networks, TV stations juggle impeachment coverage

As hour after hour of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial dragged on Jan. 21, 2020, networks and local TV stations were left with tricky decisions about scheduling.

  • Most of the networks stuck with coverage for the first day of the trial, pre-empting most of their afternoon lineup, though this did vary in some markets.
  • It’s worth noting that, due to time zone differences and differences in schedules, different stations were affected in different ways.
  • This does mean that much of the country missed much of the normal morning and afternoon fare including “The Price Is Right,” daytime and soaps.
  • During lulls in the action, some cable networks managed to slip in commercial breaks while keeping live feeds from Senate on screen thanks to a double box layout.
  • The big three networks all took a break in wall to wall live coverage to air their signature evening newscasts, where the trial’s events lead coverage.

The proceedings also wreaked havoc on local TV stations’ midday, afternoon and evening newscasts in many markets.

  • Many stations skipped their midday newscasts in favor of network coverage.
  • However, stations began taking different approaches once the 4 p.m. show rolled around.
  • Some stations opted to stream afternoon and evening newscasts online only, providing viewers with a crawl or other on-screen notice to watch there.