TV coverage for political junkies and insomniacs


Every four years, Irish and UK media succumb to the pomp, ceremony, extremism and optimism of US politics. Tonight our television stations will be filled with interactive maps, computer graphics, stars, stripes, holograms, emotional proclamations, windy pundits and dusty statisticians shoehorning complex data into soundbites.

RTÉ1:Kicks off the festivities with a Prime Time special at 9.35pm, co-anchored by Miriam O’Callaghan in Dublin and Richard Crowley in America.

From 11.35 The US Presidential Election Special features similarly cross-continental anchorage from Robert Shortt in Washington and Bryan Dobson in Dublin. At 3am this switches to a live feed from CBS, before reverting to homegrown broadcasting at 8am with Robert Shortt again (he’ll be tired) and Una O’Hagan.

BBC1:At 11.35pm a Dimbleby (David) hosts BBC’s coverage from Washington while his sidekick, Emily Maitlis, fiddles with a massive Tomorrow’s World-style touchscreen.

Action-newsman Jeremy Vine will be on hand to manfully wrestle historical perspective from the computer graphics.

ITV:Steely faced Alastair Stewart is once more a witness to history as America Decides (this is what the ITV programme is called and it starts at 11.35pm). He does this from London, but will be assisted by a team strewn across the US, including Bill Neely on the trail of Romney and Robert Moore stalking Obama.

Sky News:From 10.30pm Jeremy Thompson anchors election night coverage from Obama’s heartland in Chicago. Dominic Waghorn is embedded with the Obama team, Greg Milam reports from the Boston-based Romney camp and Adam Boulton roams Washington like a grumpy bear.

TV3:Vincent Browne will host an election special at 11pm. This is followed by Psychic Readings Live, which might feature a supernatural, early revelation of the election result. If not, a live feed from CNN takes over at 2AM, and Ireland AM resumes the homegrown coverage at 7am.

The American 24-hour news broadcasters will also, of course, be covering the election. CNN will be screening America’s Choice throughout the day and night.