News Networks Wipe Evening Slates to Cover Trump Guilty Verdict

Broadcast and cable outlets each broke into special coverage, with anchors reading off the historic 34 guilty counts on air

Donald Trump in court
Donald Trump (Credit: Getty Images)

TV news networks broke into special coverage across the board as a historic guilty verdict was delivered in Donald Trump’s criminal fraud trial on Thursday in Manhattan. 

Broadcast networks preempted planned programming for special news coverage of the 34 felony charges, which came back guilty one by one and were read by each network live on air. Meanwhile, cable news networks initiated additional special coverage plans for the evening following the verdict, after airing coverage of the trial relentlessly for weeks.

Jury deliberations began Wednesday morning, putting in just over 11 hours before reaching a unanimous guilty decision on all counts. Sentencing for Trump will take place on July 11, just days ahead of the Republican National Convention, where the former president is expected to officially be crowned the party’s nominee for the third time in a row. 

Broadcast Network plans: 

NBC: 

NBC News announced there was a verdict at 4:37 pm ET during “Meet the Press Now” and went up on the broadcast network with a special report for the verdict at 4:46 pm ET, with coanchor of “Today” and the network’s chief legal correspondent Savannah Guthrie and “Nightly News” anchor Lestor Holt anchoring. Guthrie and Holt were joined by senior legal correspondent Laura Jarrett, who began reading all 34 counts at 5:06 p.m. ET. Senior Washington Correspondent and “NBC News Now” anchor Hallie Jackson also joined the special report to offer political analysis. There will be further coverage of the verdict on “NBC Nightly News,” which began at 6:30 p.m. ET, with the network’s streaming service airing a one-hour special at 9 p.m. ET helmed by “Top Story” anchor Tom Llamas.

ABC: 

ABC News took over the broadcast network with their special report at 4:48 p.m. ET, with “World News Tonight” anchor and managing editor David Muir helming coverage. Senior investigative correspondent Aaron Katersky and ABC News chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl were also contributing to the network’s special coverage, with chief legal affairs correspondent Dan Abrams joining by phone. 

CBS: 

CBS News initiated network-wide verdict coverage at 4:49 p.m. ET after breaking into a special report on their streaming service at 4:43 p.m. ET. CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell anchored the network’s special coverage with contributions from chief election and campaign correspondent Robert Costa, chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford, chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett, congressional correspondent Scott MacFarlane and senior White House and political correspondent Ed O’Keefe. Coverage of the verdict decision continues on “The Daily Report” with John Dickerson, CBS “Evening News” on the network’s streaming service and Friday morning. 

Cable News: 

MSNBC: 

MSNBC broke the news that a verdict had been reached in the criminal trial of the former president at 4:37 p.m. ET, breaking the guilty verdict at 5:06 p.m. ET, with “Deadline: White House” anchor Nicolle Wallace helming the cable network’s special coverage. MSNBC anchors Rachel Maddow and Ari Melber joined Wallace, as did legal analyst and cohost of the network’s “Prosecuting Donald Trump” podcast Andrew Weissmann. Special coverage will continue throughout the night on the cable network, with Maddow taking over at 8 p.m. ET, leading a panel of hosts including Wallace, Melber, Joy Reid, Chris Hayes, Alex Wagner, Lawrence O’Donnell and Stephanie Ruhle. Special coverage will continue on MSNBC throughout the night and the following day to break down the jury’s decision. 

CNN: 

CNN has regularly been in live special coverage mode to cover updates in this trial. It broke Trump’s guilty verdict decision at 5:06 p.m. ET, with “The Lead” anchor Jake Tapper helming the network. Tapper was joined by CNN chief political correspondent and anchor Dana Bash, “The Source” anchor Kaitlan Collins, national correspondent Kristen Holmes, chief legal affairs correspondent Paula Reid and anchor Anderson Cooper. The network’s coverage included contributions from legal and political experts from outside the New York courtroom including correspondent Kara Scannell. CNN’s primetime coverage of the trial verdict will continue with where Erin Burnett, Anderson Cooper, Kaitlan Collins, Abby Phillip, and Laura Coates, who will all dive in-depth into the decision and subsequent ramifications.

Fox News: 

Fox News broke the guilty verdict decision in special coverage at 5:07 p.m. ET, with chief legal correspondent Shannon Bream reading off the counts against Trump. Bream was joined by Andy McCarthy, Trey Gowdy and legal analyst Jonathan Turley. The network will have continuous coverage on Thursday night with contributions from the network’s top anchors and legal analysts. 

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