Get Set For Must-Watch TV
Coverage of President Donald Trump's impeachment hearings is set to begin Wednesday, and the major TV networks are ramping up for what could be an unprecedented event.
CBS is the first network to announce it will be preempting their daytime programming to carry the hearings in Washington. First up will be testimony from Bill Taylor, a top diplomat in Ukraine, as well as George Kent, who works in the State Department as deputy assistant secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau.
Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is also set to testify before Congress.
O'Donnell Heading CBS' Coverage
According to Deadline, Norah O'Donnell, lead anchor for "CBS Evening News," will lead the impeachment coverage. The news show will also air from Washington on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of next week.
CBS will also include coverage on streaming service CBSN, CBS Newspath and CBS News Radio.
Playing With a Full Deck
CBS News contributors Jonathan Turley and Kim Wehle will add their analysis to the proceedings, while chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett and chief congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes will also contribute to coverage, along with several others.
Was It Quid Pro Quo?
The president is under intense scrutiny for his telephone call with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky last summer, when he requested Zelensky look into a business deal involving Hunter Biden, Joe Biden's son.
Joe Biden is running for president in the 2020 U.S. general election.
CNN Washington Bureau Chief and Senior Vice President Sam Feist spoke with Los Angeles Times, saying this impeachment hearing will be unlike any other.
“This will be the first impeachment inquiry of the digital age. It’s a very different media environment. Each era brings a different type of coverage.”
Times Have Changed
Los Angeles Times writes that during the Nixon Watergate hearings, there were only three networks to cover testimony: ABC, CBS and NBC. CNN and other 24-hour news networks were not even born yet.
Networks in the '70s were concerned that daytime viewership would bottom out, since people's favorite soap operas and game shows would be preempted for the hearings.
The Nixon Watergate hearings ended up making stars out of NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw and CBS' Dan Rather, partly because a lot more people tuned in to the live events than networks expected.
A Galactic Event
As the Trump impeachment hearings continue to heat up, it's expected that viewership will be just as explosive.
Nixon's resignation was watched by about 60.3 percent of all U.S. homes. About 110 million viewers tuned in to watch Nixon leave the White House for the last time.
The only other event that tops the Nixon resignation was the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon. About 125 million people watched that -- the first time humans ever landed on the Moon.