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Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly: Fox News election anchors

Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly will anchor election night coverage on Fox News, the channel said Wednesday. With the announcement by the leader in cable news ratings, the TV landscape is now set for the election. And for all the new media change, the networks and cable channels are still going all out on the night of an American vote -- just as the broadcasters have been doing since the 1950s.

One of the most notable differences among the channels this year is that while CNN, Fox News, the broadcast networks and PBS are designating anchormen and anchorwomen to lead their coverage, MSNBC is showcasing opinion-mongering hosts like Keith Olbermann at its anchor desk on election night. Except the word "anchor" is not used in the MSNBC release to describe what the partisan Olbermann and his cohorts will do. Here's how the latest MSNBC release describes the lineup:

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Meanwhile, NBC News, which has the highest-rated evening newscast in television, is altering its entertainment lineup to give more on-air time to its coverage led by Brian Williams. The latenight comedy shows of Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon will be pre-empted for election coverage -- a commendable move by NBC.

As for sister channel MSNBC, however, it appears that the unabashedly liberal outlet is being relegated to a kind of second class status for a small, partisan core audience. I would not be surprised if MSNBC finishes last among the three major cable news channels and is further marginalized yet into being a non-contender on a night when Americans are looking for accurate, verified information and sound analysis rather than the kinds of adolescent histrionics Olbermann and Matthews have given viewers on past election nights.

CNN, which owned the 2008 election in terms of buzz and shared the ratings lead with Fox News, is muscling up again with technology and talent. The now-beleaguered and ratings-challenged network will have Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper anchoring its coverage with John King, of 2008's Magic Wall, showcased again in a similar role.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the night will be how CNN does compared to Fox News in terms of audience size. For all its problems with lowly-rated and critically-dismissed shows like "Parker Spitzer," CNN recently managed to deliver a strong performance in ratings during the Chilean miners rescue -- a story that found a large audience looking for straight information about the rescue.

Tuesday will be a very important night for CNN as it tries to pull out of the tailspin that recently led to the firing of CNN/US President Jon Klein.

More on the networks and PBS later.

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