Broadcasting & Cable offers a report on how Orlando TV news covered the Casey Anthony trial. There’s nothing you probably didn’t already know, but it does give you an outsider’s perspective on the wall-to-wall coverage that has dominated the O-Town airways.
But here’s one news nugget:
By some estimates, 60% of the TVs in DMA No. 19 have been tuned to trial coverage at any given time. “That’s unheard of,” says Robin Smythe, VP and GM at Bright House Networks’ Orlando channel News 13. “I thought those days were over.”
In addition to watching the Casey Anthony trial on Orlando TV news, many followed coverage via reporters’ and anchors’ tweets on Twitter. Here’s a sampling of Orlando TV tweets following the verdict. (I especially like WFTV news director Bob Jordan’s tweet at the bottom):
After three years of constant surprises, the Casey Anthony saga saved its biggest one for last: a stunning not guilty verdict. Orlando TV stations have been covering the trial wall-to-wall — even bumping regular programming again today to talk while the jury deliberations were ongoing.
Hours after the verdict, the Orlando stations continued their coverage. WKMG bumped the CBS Evening News to stay in Casey mode, and continued with coverage at 7, 8 and 9 p.m. WESH broke for NBC Nightly News, but returned with hourlong specials at 7 and 8 p.m., too. WFTV did air ABC World News, but then followed with its own hourlong Casey Anthony special. Only WOFL-Fox 35 — which has seen surprisingly high ratings for its marathon coverage — went back to regular programming after its 5-6:30 p.m. news. Of course, it has 90 minutes of news later tonight to continue coverage.
Below is how Orlando’s main TV news channels broadcast the verdict in the most watched trial in Central Florida history:
Orlando TV viewers didn’t see it — since the local stations were in wall-to-wall coverage — but three of the big four national networks broke into programming for the Casey Anthony trial verdict.
ABC News aired a special report from 2:15 to 2:24 p.m., anchored by George Stephanopoulos with legal expert Dan Abrams, The Hollywood Reporter said. Stephanopoulos noted that “jaws dropped” in the studio when the verdict was delivered.
Central Florida News 13 says it was its viewers who first noticed Matthew Bartlett’s “middle finger of affection” — as Judge Belvin Perry called it — during the Casey Anthony trial.
Bartlett, the 28-year-old restaurant server, admitted in court that he flipped a bird at prosecutor Jeff Ashton. But Ashton didn’t see the incident — and just about everyone else missed it to. Except News 13, which notified the court.
“Our viewers first brought it to our attention,” News 13 general manager Robin Smythe told Orlando Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker. “It was offensive to them. We took a look at it. If we were going to provide live coverage, it’s obscene behavior. Our viewers did not like this. We got a lot of calls.”
As to why News 13 alerted the court: “We have a responsibility,” Smythe said. “It was not an effort to be a tattletale. We have an obligation to keep it clean, and we’re going to do that for our viewers.”
CNN, Fox News Channel, HLN and MSNBC joined the Orlando TV stations in airing the closing arguments and jury instructions Monday in the Casey Anthony murder trial. Not included in the screen grabs below, but even CNN International aired a report on the closing of the trial. Now, the wait begins …