US Presidential Election: your guide

Next week’s US Election will gain major coverage on Australian television, not just in news bulletins and current affairs programmes, but with live results coverage next Wednesday.

Almost all our networks will modify their programming to cover the event.

Here’s a guide to what’s in store (all times are AEDST):

Monday Nov 3

Four Corners 8:30pm Next on Four Corners: What could stop Obama? Quentin McDermott reports from the make-or-break, winner-takes-all state of Ohio. Opinion polls tell Barack Obama he is on the White House porch with one foot in the doorway. But outside, in the places that will really count in this election for the biggest job on Earth, the message is: Don’t pack your bags just yet. Ohio counts. Win Ohio, win the White House. Nowhere in America is there a fiercer battle for the presidency. Four years ago. Four Corners went to Ohio to foretell a Bush triumph; this time around things have changed unimaginably. A grizzled war veteran and an upstart African-American senator are slugging it out over a state that is wounded and angry.

Wednesday Nov 5
ABC News Breakfast 6am ABC2. ABC2 will provide live coverage leading up to the close of polls.

12pm Update: Now three hours. A three-hour special edition of The Midday Report with Ros Childs will feature live rolling coverage from the U.S,
with crosses to ABC correspondents in Chicago, Phoenix and Washington, with the latest news and analysis. The three-hour program will be live in all states.
Starting times:
1000 Western Australia
1030 Northern Territory
1100 Queensland
1130 South Australia
1200 NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and ACT

5:30pm Tony Jones will host a one-hour U.S Election Special. The program will provide the latest news on the result of this historic U.S Presidential election, together with expert analysis of what it means for the U.S, Australia and the world. Joining Tony Jones in the studio, for their analysis, will be former NSW Premier, Bob Carr and author Robert Manne and in Washington, journalist and author Christopher Hitchens and regular Lateline guest, Time magazine’s assistant managing editor, Michael Duffy. There will be crosses to ABC Correspondents in Washington, Chicago and Phoenix, with the latest news and results and the most comprehensive coverage of the U.S Presidential election. Coverage will continue at 7pm with ABC News, followed by The 7.30 Report and Lateline at 10.30pm.

Wednesday Nov 5
11am Seven News. Seven’s coverage will begin from the moment the polls close on the American East Coast at 11am AEDT, Wednesday November 5. Seven’s American broadcast partner, NBC – the leader in television news in the United States – will provide expansive live coverage of the count as well as on-the-spot reports from the Barack Obama and John McCain camps. This Seven News initiative – in conjunction with NBC News – recognises that this US Presidential Election is the most significant in decades. (3 hrs)

Wednesday Nov 5
10:00am Nine News Special: US Presidential Election. Join Michael Usher for our LIVE coverage of the US Election. (4 hrs)

Friday Oct 31
7:30pm Mister President – This documentary examines the film and television phenomenon that has made “stars” of the men and women who work in the Oval Office, and the effect that Hollywood has had on society’s perception of the US President. As society attempts to understand what it means to be President of the US, one of the places it turns to for examples is fiction. Hollywood has recreated the lives of numerous “real” presidents and produced dozens of imaginary ones. These films often depict the president as a knight in shining armour. Does society draw parallels to the fictitious leaders they see on the screen and the real Commander in Chief? Mister President combines clips from films and TV series, archives, interviews with historians, journalists, actors, directors, screenwriters, speechwriters and political analysts and footage from key Presidential locations.

Tuesday Nov 4
8:30pm Mr Firth Goes to Washington – On November 4, the US election campaign will finally reach its climatic end. Of similar global importance and coincidentally on the same day, SBS will air this satirical documentary from Charles Firth (The Chaser, CNNNN) who goes to Washington in the hope of scoring an exclusive meeting with President George Bush. Along the way he explores the relationship between politics and Hollywood in America; talks to experts about the hard issues; provides a comprehensive lack-of-analysis of the Obama and McCain campaigns; and hits the streets to find out what the average American has to say.

10:00 pm Hot Docs: The War Briefing – The new US President will inherit some of the greatest foreign policy challenges in American history: an overstretched military, frayed alliances and wars on two fronts. This Frontline program gives viewers an inside look at the real policy choices the President will face. It features expert strategists and diplomats giving their advice on how to correct past failures, and how to shape a realistic foreign policy approach in the Middle East.

11:00 pm Hot Docs: Election Day – Forget the pie charts, colour-coded maps and hyperventilating pundits. What’s the grass-roots experience of voters in today’s America? Filmmaker Katy Chevigny fielded 14 film crews to capture the action vértié-style in a diverse range of locations, including Chicago; the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota; Dearborn, Michigan; Cincinnati and Shaker Heights, Ohio; Orlando and Quincy, Florida; St. Louis; New York; the little town of Sapulpa, Oklahoma; and the even tinier town of Stockholm, Wisconsin. The action took place on November 2, 2004. Election Day offers an expansive account of the last presidential election, when America’s voting practices, once taken for granted, came under new and intense observation.

Wednesday Nov 5
Update: Now from 2pm AEDST.
2:00 pm America Decides: The Presidential Election Result 2008 Live – (LIVE in all centres.) On election day World News Australia’s Anton Enus will present special coverage using live CNN feeds, reports from SBS’s Walkley award-winning senior correspondent Brian Thomson and others on the ground, and analysis from experts in the studio. (An SBS Production)  (4.5 hrs)

8:30pm Dateline – Dateline’s last show for 2008 will air on the day that Americans decide their new president. Host George Negus will be in Washington D.C, keeping viewers in touch with the Obama and McCain camps, and crossing the country to wherever news is breaking. In the studio with George will be key commentators Martin Walker, United Press International editor, and James Wolfensohn, former president of the World Bank. Correspondents in Chicago and Phoenix will report back on the atmosphere in both cities, and the reaction of the two Presidential candidates. In addition, Dateline video journalist Amos Roberts takes a fascinating journey with a group of undecided voters in the swing state of Pennsylvania, as they try to figure out who to support. Whatever the outcome, Dateline’s last show for 2008 will give an insight into how the new US Administration is likely to handle world affairs, the economy and its relationship with Australia.

SKY News
Wednesday Nov 5
Sky News will offer Australians unrivalled coverage as Americans vote for a new President on Wednesday November 5th. Sky News has the unique ability to offer 2 channels of complete coverage drawing on the worldwide resources of America’s ABC Network and Sky News UK.
On Sky News on channel 601 you will see the day unfold as Americans will see it. Every moment, every comment, every high and every low, presented by leading commentators including Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos and a team of reporters across the United States.
On the Sky News Business Channel on 602; an international perspective as we present coverage from Sky News UK presented by Jeremy Thompson in New York. Andrew Wilson will host a barbecue for ordinary voters.
Adam Boulton will provide analysis from Washington, while Martin Stanford will update results using state-of-the-art touch-screen technology. Plus Sky News Political Editor David Speers will be in Washington making sure we have got the Australian angle covered with regular crosses and analysis throughout the day.
Two channels, two perspectives, unrivalled coverage.

Comedy Channel
Thursday Nov 6
6:30pm The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report
USA Election 1 Hour Special – Indecision ‘08: America’s Choice
In a move so epic Cecil B. DeMille would be jealous, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are getting together for a special USA Election spectacular on Thursday November 6 at 6.30pm. Catch these titans of news parody as they team up to take on the USA Election in the way that only they can.

This post updates.


  1. Wildeyez – While I wholeheartedly agree that putting an Obama shirt on and waving a little American flag is a bit silly…Anyone who says ‘That’s what Australia is about’ in order to prove ‘a point’ is, to my mind, more than a little bit simple-minded. Wake up guys. It’s a big world, it doesn’t fit into your little boxes, it’s changing fast and it’s all connected. You can be proud of your country without sticking your head up your #$%^, and without bagging people out who take an interest in what are legitimately huge events beyond our borders. There’s more to life than indoor cricket mate.

  2. I cant wait for the US election…Ryano I’m with you! I’d love to see the Republican’s go down just to watch Fox’s reaction (amongst many other reasons), I bet they would come up with some insulting below the belt reaction.
    This election beats any soap opera any old day!

  3. wow, someone has a chip on their shoulder vixen! to specifically comment on an article about the US election, just to slag off americans for 2 paragraphs heh.

    If you have something better to do.. why are you posting here mmmm?

  4. Why do the US need to show us Democracy? Our Democracy is running a lot better than theres, I think the US should shut up and take a lesson off the world.

    Well at least I know I’m not being owned by the Networks as they force feed the US elections to weak minded Aussies in-capable of thinking for themselves and who have actually decided to waste their day on this.

  5. I hope that America can show us democracy and it is strong and capable of change, in a country that has just had a bad case of show me the money where capitalism unchecked got it wrong. I’ll be watching any channel I can.

  6. Well all I know is that on Election Day I’ll be at work and then stop off at the Beach on the way home then have a nice dinner on Acland with the better half and then have a round of indoor cricket with mates, then home 🙂
    That is what Australia is all about 🙂

    If some choose to don a Obama t-shirt, put on an American flag hat and wave some little US flags, while talk about 911 conspiracies and the Illuminati bs, watching the election unfold wondering if the person they voted for got in all while sitting in a backyard in Coburg then good luck to em, but they really need to have a good look at themselves.

  7. Hey Ryano, this is Australia.
    Go easy on the internet conspiracy doccos my friend, you actually sound like your going to spend an entire day on an Election in another Country…..

  8. Unbelivable, there are people actually having US Election Parties in Australia? Do they really have nothing better to do? There are actually people flying over to the States from Oz just to be apart of it… man oh man. Watching breakfast television you would think that we were Electing a President, yesterday I watched Today where Karl and that Sports guy talked for 10 minutes about which American football team they barrack for and how they both would be voting Obama way… if they could vote. And the live crosses to their “US correspondent”, sheesh! One blonde haired not to bright lady was actually wearing an Obama T-shrit while waving a tiny American flag saying “we are all having a blast over here, go Obama!”

    In true Australian Media lame style, they actually show bias towards American Candidates, and the phrase “it really does effect us down here” should be removed from TV, the sad thing is all the Media and Tv Peeps want the Election to effect us, we would be the only country in the world that wants to be a part of the train wreck that is the US right now and these peeps on TV actually want our country to be a part of it.

  9. Ill be watching history unfold on CNN like most of the rest of the world, with the BPTOTV.
    I may flick over to Fox News to see if Bill Kristol or Hannity or any of the other neo-con loons are reacting, especially if its an Obama landslide.

    Im pretty sure that daylight savings in the US ends this weekend and the US east coast will be 16 hours behind Sydney come Wednesday morning. In other words the first polls close at 8pm US ET, so 9 will be running coverage 2 hours before the first polls close in America, and Seven start 1 hour before polls close? Seems a little excessive? And with SBS starting at 2:30 pmAET seems like they might be a bit late to the party?
    All coverage should really start at 12 noon EST Australia time. Seems like the ABC are the only network who have done their time zone calculations.

  10. Why would you watch free-to-air TV for election coverage. I agree with Matt. I’ll be switching between news channels. But then not everyone has Foxtel. Even if you don’t have Foxtel, Austar etc. you can still find streaming footage of most international news networks over the internet. Just watch the bandwidth amount though if applicable.

    Channel 9 & 7’s coverage will be fraught with advertising and crossing to and from local correspondents who probably know very little about USA politics and simulcasts of NBC or probably CBS for Nine. And good on Ten for just showing news updates and staying with regular programming.

  11. Well I know what channel i’ll be watching…….none of them! I won’t be wasting my time on a sensationalised American Presidential Election, hell I couldn’t even sit through our own Election 07 Specials. I think we all know the result anyway…

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