Sky News Australia set to break streaming records
Sky News Australia is on track to break its own streaming records on the US election, with local viewers transfixed by the chance of Donald Trump's surprise return to the White House.
Outsiders host Rowen Dean justified his rogue status, standing against the tide of early TV punditry which gave Joe Biden the lead in states that ultimately fell to Mr Trump - with the TV commentator boldly predicting the incumbent President would carry up to 310 electoral votes and stay put in the White House.
As lawyers for both parties prepared to challenge results across the US, Dean was adamant Trump had delivered on his promise of a comeback win.
"He will win and he deserves to win," Dean said, predicting "this will have huge ramifications around the world for 'woke' politics."
If he does bank the shock victory, Dean claimed Mr Trump "would be far more assertive in his second term" - a terrifying prospect for those longing for calmer political waters ahead.
Slamming the Democrats campaign, he argued: "they relied on fear of the coronavirus, they relied on demonising Trump, the so-called Trump Derangement Syndrome, which has been pathetic … and Trump has shown with the right policies, looking after the right people and looking after the economy, that is what people want in a democracy."
His break for Mr Trump came in the face of the President's favourite TV channel, Fox News taking a hit from Republicans after it called both Arizona and Minnesota for Biden.
On the flip side, Mr Biden's camp forced a rethink on counting in Georgia, which was counted for Mr Trump - with Sky and Fox both backtracking on its red call earlier in the day.
As Sky's Paul Murray and the network's number cruncher Tom Nicols revealed the Trump lead factored in county votes that lean red, with the big city booths including the capital Atlanta had not been counted yet where Biden was expected to perform well.
Sky's coverage attracted a significant new global audience in the lead-up to the US presidential election through its digital platforms, reaching its biggest online audience last month in the channel's history - delivering more than 160 million video views and a unique audience exceeding 25 million people from around the world.
Dean's resolute confidence was in stark contrast to the ABC's early tally which projected more than 200 college votes for Biden and the Democrats.
US political pundits warned record pre-polling had skewered the calculations before midday AEST, to swing blue, with Aunty outpacing all other networks in calling the lead for Biden.
Network 10 was the last local network to get in the ballot battle for either side, running a zero count right up to 11.30am, in line with its US parent company CBS' tentative coverage.
Nine and Seven relied on CNN's feed to break down the battleground states, as the blue wave predicted for Mr Biden did not transpire into real votes.
In one of the lighter moments of the day's bitterly fought election results, Seven's Paul Kadac was set upon by a middle-aged female Trump supporter, who chased him around the room during a live cross.
Seven News anchors Angela Cox and Michael Usher belly-laughed back in the Sydney studio as the amorous woman, kicking up her heels at a Trump party in West Miami, followed him, asking for his phone number.
Meanwhile, Brit breakfast TV host and Mr Trump pal, Piers Morgan captured the world view on the unfolding drama, tweeting: "this is starting to feel like 2016 all over again," before posting: "Nobody knows who's going to win this. Nobody."
Originally published as Sky News Australia set to break streaming records