News of the horrific movie theater shooting in Colorado caused all three network morning shows to toss out their plans and switch to breaking news mode, and sent a flood of reporters from across the media to the Denver suburb where the events took place.
The shooting, at a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises," occurred in the small hours of Friday morning, giving the networks time to send correspondents to Aurora, CO and find eyewitnesses to the tragedy.
"Not the kind of news we want to bring you on a Friday morning," Matt Lauer said as he led off the coverage on "Today."
What followed on all of the networks was a combination of YouTube videos, conversations with eyewitnesses on cell phones and dispatches from reporters piecing the story of what happened when the gunman opened fire in the theater.
It was a sobering reminder that, for all the time they devote to fluffier stories, the morning shows are still news programs at their core. "Today," for instance, canceled its plans to air one of its Friday concerts, telling viewers they would see it "sometime next week." "CBS This Morning," which usually ends at 9 AM, kept airing past that hour.
On "Good Morning America," hosts reflected on the omnipresence of social media in their coverage.
"You can't escape it," guest host Amy Robach said.
As TVNewser reported, cable news networks also began devoting wall-to-wall coverage to the shooting starting around 4:45 AM.
As the day wore on, more and more correspondents signaled that they were headed to Aurora to be at the scene of the crime.
On CNN, Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon both tweeted that they would be anchoring coverage from Colorado. CBS' Scott Pelley, ABC's David Muir and NBC's Brian Williams and Savannah Guthrie were also scheduled to report from Aurora, as was Ann Curry, in her first appearance since her exit from "Today."