NBC News is using this year’s off-cycle election to try out some new streaming concepts.
On Tuesday, November 2, NBC News Now will stream a 2-hour streaming special, Meet The Press: Election Night Special, anchored by Chuck Todd and Kristen Welker, that will examine the ins and hours of important gubernatorial, state-level, and local elections from around the nation.
“We are doing an Election Night for people that really care about Election Night, that really care about why this person is winning, what’s going on here,” said Todd in an interview quoted by Variety.
Todd admitted that NBC News would not likely televise a quieter election cycle like this in primetime on NBC, but sees no reason why the NBCUniversal news division cannot bring all its resources to bear on streaming for a small, devoted group of viewers.
According to Todd, NBC plans to use what it learns from this year’s Election Night efforts to help plan similar NBC News Now specials for important primary efforts leading into the 2022 midterm elections.
Broadband news competition is expected to ramp up as the subscription-based CNN+ nears its launch. Similar programming efforts are expected to be offered on the WarnerMedia news outlet. CBS News is expected to add more political resources to its CBSN platform going into the 2022 election cycle.
NBC News Now is a place where the company’s news division is able to focus on the most important news of the day, according to NBC News president Noah Oppenheim.
“This is the best of NBC News,” Oppenheim told Variety. “It’s not second-tier in any way.”
Welker said that though this is an off-cycle election, the stakes this year are still high.
“This is a significant Election Night that we are about to cover,” she said. “This night will tell us a lot of what we can potentially expect to see, or what threads we are going to follow as we get into the midterms, which are critical for both parties.”
The NBC News Now special, streaming from 9 pm to 11 pm ET, is expected to focus on the Virginia gubernatorial race between Democratic ex-governor Terry McAuliffe and Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin. The contest is seen as a potential national bellwether on how the midterms may unfold. Other races in the spotlight will include the governor’s race in New Jersey and mayoral contests in New York City, Boston, Minneapolis, and Atlanta, as well as a contentious school board race in Southlake, Texas, where cultural issues reign supreme.
Todd says that just as ESPN has started to multicast versions of sporting events tailored to different audiences, news divisions may start to do the same thing. “I do think that this is the future,” he said.