January 31st, 2008
12:27 AM ET

Blog from the Back Row

At presidential candidate debates, the stakes are high for those on stage and those behind the scenes.

Tonight was no exception. 

Our New York control room picked up coverage when the Republican debate at the Reagan library ended.  The handover was particularly tricky because we weren't swapping out anchors.

Anderson did both the debate and then our post-debate coverage.  You would think that this would make it easier, not harder, but it presents a new set of challenges. Here's one of them.

Usually the line of copy in the prompter that the anchor is reading is in the middle of the screen.  To account for a normal satellite delay we were rolling prompter off the top line of the screen, in effect leading Anderson.  And yet, this was still not working as Anderson had to wait for copy to catch up to him.  

All this was happening while we were live on the air. Anderson soon resorted to adlibbing (which is very impressive, I might add, considering what was at stake) until we figured out that we needed to be three full lines of copy ahead of him.

What he was reading in California was already off the screen in New York.  The person running prompter in New York, JoAnn, was essentially doing it blind.  Not ideal. Or easy.  But we made it work. 

Like the candidates on stage at the debate, our performance wasn't flawless but hopefully it kept you watching.     

Filed under: AC360° Staff • Behind The Scenes
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