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Cable Technology Feature Article

November 07, 2012

Darkest Hour: ABC News Loses Studio Power during Election Coverage

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

Critics often complain that the U.S. media is in the dark about politics, but on Tuesday night even the media’s strongest supporters couldn’t deny the claim.  ABC News lost power in its TV studio at the height of its election night coverage.

By some miracle, the outage occurred when the network was on a commercial break.

Still, anchors Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos, a former press secretary for President Bill Clinton, found the lights going off as they sat at their studio desks in New York’s Times Square.

Image via Shutterstock

The power went off at 10:51 p.m., and one minute later Matthew Dowd, a political consultant used by ABC News, asked the producers in a control room, "Do you guys need any help?" The Hollywood Reporter said.

At 10:54 p.m., the power was still off, so executive director Jeff Winn sent the program to reporter Josh Elliott, who was outside in Times Square, interviewing the public about the election.

Then at 11 p.m., Sawyer and Stephanopoulos relocated to Katie Couric's social media screen, where the power remained on.

During the outage, Winn told his colleagues, "Everybody calm down. We're going to be alright," The Hollywood Reporter said.

At 11:17 p.m., the lights came back on. "In the universe of things that can go wrong, this is a big one," ABC News president Ben Sherwood said.

The cause of the power outage was not immediately known.

In a related matter, New York City was particularly hard hit by power outages and other damage after Hurricane Sandy recently struck the East Coast of the United States. Some residents and businesses remain without power and various forms of telecom service.

As of 11 a.m. on Tuesday, the local utility, Con Edison, said approximately 118,000 New York City customers were without electricity, according to a company statement. These included some 1,400 in Manhattan, 26,000 in Queens, 22,000 in Brooklyn, 12,000 in Staten Island and 5,500 in the Bronx.

A storm is predicted for today, which raises concerns about additional outages.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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