All of the cable news networks in the United States showed the first rescue live and continued to show each subsequent rescue with wall-to-wall coverage in the early morning hours as the rescues began. Outside the U.S., channels like the BBC, CNN International and Al Jazeera English were also live for hours at a time.
The rescue operations are expected to continue well into the day, making it a slow-motion event for both newscasters and viewers. CNN and MSNBC are among the cable networks continuing to broadcast continuous live coverage of the rescues as of Wednesday morning. Others, including CBS News, are also broadcasting live footage on their websites.
As each of the miners emerge, they are greeted by embraces from loved ones, cheered by joyous Chileans and watched by a captivated world.
No one in recorded history has survived as long trapped underground as the 33 men. For the first 17 days after 700,000 tons of rock collapsed around them Aug. 5, no one even knew whether they were alive. In the weeks that followed, the world was transfixed by their endurance and unity.
There was no immediate way to know how many people were watching in the United States or in other countries, the New York Times' Media Decoder blog notes. But the notion that the world is watching the rescues together sparked comparisons to the moon landing 41 years ago and the rescues of the so-called "Miracle on the Hudson" plane in New York last year.
"This is the ultimate live shot," Gary Tuchman, a CNN correspondent, said more than once during the network's live coverage.