News Nets Race to Cover Malaysian Plane Crash

Cable, Broadcast Channels All In On Developing Story
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Updated: 2:15 p.m. (ET)

The cable and broadcast news networks scrambled Thursday to cover a Malaysia Airlines flight that crashed along the Ukraine/Russia border, with NBC, ABC and CBS cutting into regular programming.

At 11:36 a.m. (ET), the airlines’ twitter account tweeted that it had lost contact with the MH17 plane, which took off from Amsterdam, somewhere over Ukrainian airspace. Multiple reports stated the plane was shot down by militants, killing all 295 passengers aboard, citing an Interfax-Ukraine news agency.

The cable news nets have been providing wall-to-wall coverage; CNN broke in at 11:22 a.m.,

with Fox News and MSNBC around the same time as well.

CNN went into simulcast coverage across CNNUS and CNN International. Anderson Cooper is anchoring along with Richard Quest and Jim Sciutto.

MSNBC went on the air with its report at 11:33 with Tamron Hall. Fox News began its coverage around the same time.

CBS News broke into its regular programming with a "Special Report" at 11:39 a.m. Evening News anchor Scott Pelley is anchoring from New York along with correspondent Margaret Brennan. Safety and Aviation Expert Capt. Sully Sullenberger, and correspondents Mark Phillips and Major Garrett have contributed as well.

NBC also cut into regular programming at 11:39 a.m., with Today’s Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie anchoring. Tom Costello, former NTSB investigator Greg Feith, former NCTC director Michael Leiter, and terrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann all contributed. Nightly News anchor Brian Williams took over at 1 p.m.

ABC broke in shortly after at 11:41 a.m. with incoming World News anchor David Muir, who stayed on until 11:58 a.m.; ABC News came back on the air at 12:08 p.m. with new chief anchor George Stephanopoulos, who has been leading the coverage with correspondents Martha Raddatz, Brian Ross, Jonathan Karl, Jim Avila and aviation consultant John Nance.ABC said that World News would be extended to an hour Thursday night with Muir anchoring and that Thursday’s Nightline will lead with the latest developments.

Fox News is preempting its afternoon slate, with Shepard Smith leading the network’s coverage on the Fox News Deck. Tonight, FNC will present all live programming during the primetime hours. Megyn Kelly will anchor an additional live hour tonight from 11 p.m. until midnight.

Additional contributions will be provided by FNC’s National Security correspondent Jennifer Griffin from Washington, UK-based correspondent Amy Kellogg from London, and from FNC’s Steve Harrigan who is en route to Ukraine. 

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