John McCain Gets Near POTUS-Level Farewell Coverage On Broadcast TV

John McCain was unsuccessful in both of his attempts to become President of the United States, but in death the Arizona Senator is getting a send off from the networks worthy of a Commander-in-chief.

CBS, NBC and ABC are all planing extensive coverage of the events this week leading up to Sunday’s private funeral of the American hero and self described maverick, who passed away from brain cancer at the age of 81-years old on August 25. Of course, starting today, CNN, Fox New Channel and MSNBC are going wall-to-wall with coverage of Sen. McCain’s memorial in his adopted state and all the way up to his funeral on September 2.

While Donald Trump has been distinctly not invited, former Presidents and respective McCain White House bid rivals George W. Bush and Barack Obama are scheduled to deliver eulogies for the six term Senator at Washington National Cathedral on September 1. The son of a distinguished military family, the former Navy pilot and Vietnam War POW will be buried at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland on September 2.

Among the pallbearers for Sen. McCain’s D.C. memorial will be Warren Beatty, ex-VP Joe Biden, who will speak in Phoenix tomorrow about his long time friend, FedEx founder Fred Smith, former Sen. Gary Hart, and ex-NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

As all of the Big 3 are rightly set to go big on the farewell to Sen. McCain, of all the network news anchors only NBC’s Lester Holt will be on-air covering the memorials. CBS’ Jeff Glor is off this week and, as he has in past big events such as this, ABC’s David Muir is handing over the reigns to Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos. As it does in such circumstances of national interest, Fox will pepper simulcasting of FNC’s broadcasts throughout its regularly scheduled programming.

Take a look below for the current coverage plans for CBS, NBC and ABC. We will update if required throughout the rest of the week and over the weekend.


The network was on the ground in the Grand Canyon State this morning with coverage from CBS This Morning and a special report from Norah O’Donnell. Over the next few days there will also be continuous coverage on online 24-hour news service CBSN.

August 29
John Dickerson will interview Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close friend and colleague of Sen. McCain, for tonight’s CBS Evening News With Jeff Glor  (6:30-7:00 PM, ET), with the full interview airing tomorrow on CBS This Morning (7:00-9:00 AM, ET)..

August 31
Norah O’Donnell and John Dickerson will anchor a CBS News Special Report from New York when Sen. McCain’s casket arrives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

September 1
CBS News will air five hours of coverage beginning at 7:00 AM, ET, on CBS This Morning: Saturday and continuing with a live, CBS News Special Report at 9:00 AM, ET, on the CBS Television Network and simulcast on CBSN for the procession past the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, followed by the service at Washington National Cathedral.

Anthony Mason, Michelle Miller and Dana Jacobson will anchor the coverage for CBS This Morning: Saturday  (7:00-9:00 AM, check local listings) from Studio 57 in New York.

Margaret Brennan will anchor the CBS News Special Report (9:00 AM-12:00 PM, ET) live from Washington and will be joined by John Dickerson and Bob Schieffer and the CBS News team of correspondents with on-the-ground reporting. Additionally, CBS News will feature coverage of Sen. McCain’s life and legacy on its regularly scheduled broadcasts, including CBS News Sunday Morning (9:00-10:30 AM, ET), Face The Nation (check local listings), CBS This Morning and the CBS Evening New With Jeff Glor.


Unlike ABC and CBS, the Comcast-owned net has cable news sister stations in MSNBC and CNBC, who will be strongly covering the McCain events over the next few days. That offers NBC a number of opportunities that its fellow networks won’t have, but the broadcast itself has original coverage planned too.

August 31
Starting just before 10 AM ET, NBC News senior national correspondent Kate Snow will anchor NBC News’ coverage of Friday’s ceremony when Sen. McCain’s body arrives to lie in state in the Capitol rotunda.

September 1

Around 9 AM ET, NBC News and MSNBC correspondents Kelly O’Donnell, Kasie Hunt, and Garrett Haake will join coverage from the ground in Washington D.C. Chuck Todd, moderator of Meet the Press and NBC News political director, leads the network’s coverage of the Saturday, September 1 memorial service from the grounds outside the National Cathedral. Andrea Mitchell will report for both NBC and MSNBC from D.C. on September 1.

Lester Holt will anchor a special edition of NBC Nightly News on Saturday, September 1, reporting on the day’s events.


Having begun their coverage this morning with an special report by George Stephanopoulos of Sen. McCain’s body arriving at the Arizona State Capitol rotunda to lay in state for public visitation, the Disney-owned net’s 24-hour news channel ABCNewsLive will be livestreaming the memorial services today, tomorrow and on Saturday. There will be additional coverage on ABC News’ social media platforms too and there will be midday Facebook Watch replay on September 1 of the daily On Location of highlights from the service at the Washington National Cathedral

September 1
Starting at 9 AM ET on ABC itself, Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos will anchor coverage of McCain’s memorial service from the Washington National Cathedral with on location reporting from Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl, Chief Foreign Correspondent Terry Moran, Senior White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega, Correspondent Ron Claiborne, Political Analyst Cokie Roberts, and Special Correspondent Matthew Dowd.

Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz will report from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial where McCain’s family will pay respects and wife Cindy McCain will lay a wreath.

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