NBC News and ABC News broke into their networks’ Saturday-night schedules to cover protests breaking around the country in reaction to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, while the nation’s three main cable-news networks featured ongoing coverage of public dissent instead of regularly scheduled programming.
Viewers saw surprising scenes of protest in cities ranging from Los Angeles and New York City to Salt Lake City and Chicago across the course of Saturday evening. In some instances, reporters like NBC’s News Ali Velshi got close to tear gas being fired. In others, anchors worried openly on air that correspondents in crowds might be in danger from the crowds they were covering.
At 10 p.m. eastern, NBC News anchor Chris Jansing led a report during what would normally have been a re-air of an old “Saturday Night Live” on NBC. Meanwhile, ABC News took up the entire hour with a report lead by anchor Terry Moran that featured correspondents from across the nation.
Cable-news networks covered the situation throughout primetime. CNN’s Don Lemon led coverage that included dispatches from Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C., and told audiences, “I am waiting for a call for calm… from the leadership in this country. Where is it?”
MSNBC relied on Jansing as well as Joshua Johnson, who recently joined the network.