ABC News will occupy some of the best real estate in America on Election Night, as its Times Square set is practically equidistant to both campaign headquarters.
Marc Burstein, the network’s executive producer of special events, plans to take advantage of ABC’s location by incorporating The Crossroads of the World with the network’s coverage.
“I expect Times Square itself to be filled with people. We have such a unique vantage point,” Burstein said. “We’ll have two candidates, both in New York, within 10 blocks on either side of us … There will be a lot of crowd just in between.”
Hillary Clinton’s campaign will be set up at the Jacob Javits Center, with its symbolic glass ceilings, while Donald Trump will be hunkered at New York Hilton Midtown. While proximity is nice for ABC, the network hopes its information is what viewers remember. Burstein explained that all news organizations receive the same data, so to distinguish itself, ABC must present the data in a unique and creative way.
“The graphics are extremely important,” Burstein said. “And what we’ve done with the set and the graphics is that we’ve integrated them in a way that we’ve never done before.”
The ABC News team blended Times Square outside with the studio inside, allowing viewers on television and people standing in Midtown Manhattan to have the same “immersive experience,” according to Burstein.
ABC will debut some new technology during its coverage as results roll in throughout the evening and Burstein is excited about the “huge electronic signs” that surround his studio.
“They used to be eye candy. This time they are actually being used to tell the story,” he said. “When we project winners on states that will be critical to the race for 270 electoral votes, we will be able to show you that outside, on these screens.”
The ABC News team worked on the design of the signs for months, and Burstein is pleased with the finished product, but he knows it won’t determine which network has the best coverage.
“You want a fantastic set. You want a beautiful set, but it’s not more important than the information or the people sitting at the set,” he said. “Our analysis and our context are what is going to distinguish us.”
George Stephanopoulos will anchor ABC’s primetime coverage from the network’s Times Square headquarters starting a 7 p.m. ET.
“World News Tonight” Anchor David Muir, “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz, Diane Sawyer, Charles Gibson, Jonathan Karl, Byron Pitts, Terry Moran, Cecilia Vega and Tom Llamas will contribute to the coverage. Robin Roberts and Amy Robach will be at campaign headquarters and Michael Strahan will roam the street of Times Square interviewing voters.