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27° Good Morning

Tips on navigating the inaugural coverage

The easy part? You've got a front seat to history in your own living room today. The hard part? Which seat to choose from.

ABC: Network news coverage will be anchored by Charles Gibson, Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos from the Newseum, on Pennsylvania Avenue, looking towards the Capitol. "The Neighborhood Ball: An Inauguration Celebration" airs exclusively here at 8 p.m. Coverage also includes a news special at 10 p.m., "A Moment in History."

Why watch: Spectacular location, and the "chief selling point is the anchor team," says David Chalian, ABC News political director.

CBS: Six-hour broadcast begins at 9:30 a.m. with Katie Couric, Bob Schieffer, Jeff Greenfield and Douglas Brinkley. Airs a special at 9 p.m., "Change and Challenge."

Why watch: Check out the CNET Webcast tonight. Also, "It's about the team (and) we intend to also cut in correspondents from around the world," says Rick Kaplan, "Evening News" chief.

CNN: Starts at 5 a.m., although core coverage starts at 10, with Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper, along with analysts Gloria Borger and David Gergen, from atop the Newseum.

Why watch: "Viewers will see more of everything and (have) a better view on CNN," says D.C. bureau chief David Bohrman.

NBC, MSNBC: Brian Williams, Tom Brokaw and "Weekend Nightly" anchor Lester Holt make up the core team, while the rest of NBC News' anchor team lineup will report from various D.C. locations. The MSNBC team is Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow and Eugene Robinson. NBC airs a news special at 10 p.m., "The Presidency of Barack Obama." NBC corporate siblings CNBC and Telemundo will also offer coverage.

Why watch: MSNBC boasts a mid-Mall studio view, while chief of NBC News specials Phil Alongi cites "the chemistry between Brian, Tom and Lester" that was evident on election night.

FNC: Starts at 6 a.m., with Bret Baier, Shepard Smith and Chris Wallace kicking in at 8:30. Plus, updates from around the city and lots of remotes from the Mall crowd. (WNYW/5 will use Fox News coverage starting at 11 a.m., until about 2:30 p.m.)

Why watch: Baier - on the eve of his first major outing since replacing Brit Hume as anchor of "Special Report" earlier this month - says "sometimes the automatic instinct for us . . . is to talk, but sometimes you don't need to say anything. Let people soak it in" - much as FNC did on election night.

PBS: Starts at 11 a.m., with Jim Lehrer, Mark Shields, David Brooks, Charlie Rose, and others. Plus tonight, " Frontline's" "Dreams of Obama" (anchored by Tavis Smiley) at 9.

Why watch: Promises deep historical perspective throughout the day.

BET: Hill Harper and Rene Syler as hosts-anchors, along with BET News anchor Jeff Johnson, from the rooftop on North Capitol.

Why watch: First ever inaugural coverage for BET, and tonight, "Yes We Will: BET'S Inauguration Celebration" with Samuel L. Jackson, Ne-Yo, Wyclef Jean and other stars, at 8.

TV One: Daylong coverage starts at 10, anchored by Art Fennell, with XM Satellite's Joe Madison. Commentary by Tom Joyner, Rev. Al Sharpton and Roland Martin.

Why watch: "Our mission is to celebrate African-American culture and chronicle its achievements," says Johnathan Rodgers, TV One chief. TV One will offer "a combination of both of those." Available on DirecTV, FiOs and Time Warner systems.

And don't forget: Nickelodeon will air its first-ever inaugural coverage, C-SPAN will offer its distinctive coverage all day, and News12 will offer coverage.

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