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TV News Forces Out Early to Cover Saddam Capture

Television news organizations snapped into action early Sunday morning when news came shortly after 5 a.m. EST that U.S. forces had captured former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather was in the chair by 6:30 a.m., and NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw was not long after.

With ABCWorld News’ Peter Jennings on assignment in Los Angeles, Charles Gibson filled in, followed by This WeekWith George Stephanopoulos later in the morning. Jennings hopped a (commercial) flight and was back in New York in time to host World News Sunday and a special edition of PrimeTime.

On cable, Fox News, CNN and MSNBC provided wall-to-wall coverage of the event throughout the day. Fox’s new Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace was on from 7 a.m., yielding the chair to anchor Shepard Smith until Fox News Sunday later in the morning.

On CNN, Paula Zahn and Aaron Brown shared the anchoring duties through the morning. In prime time, both Fox and CNN went to special live editions of their regular prime time shows, including Bill O’Reilly and Smith’s shows on Fox.