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CNN Announces Convention Plans

cnnlogo_7-11.JPGAs expected, the BPTOT* will be busy when the conventions begin at the end of August.

Some notes from CNN’s release:

• CNN Grills will be in Denver and St. Paul, set up at restaurants outside the convention for live broadcasts and places to mingle.

• The “magic wall” is making the trek to each convention.

• CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien will serve as the main anchor at the conventions during the day, with Wolf Blitzer taking over at 4pmET.

CNN’s full slate of plans, after the jump…

*Best Political Team On Televison.


CNN, which has offered the most cutting-edge, most-talked-about and most-watched election coverage in cable news this year, will offer viewers the immediacy of ringside reporting from the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. The network will anchor its multi-platform coverage of both events from sets on the delegation floors at the Pepsi Center in Denver from Aug. 25 to 28 and the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., from Sept. 1 to 4. CNN debuted the delegation floor platform to great acclaim during the 2004 party conventions.

CNN anchors Wolf Blitzer, Campbell Brown and Anderson Cooper, along with the Best Political Team on Television, will provide comprehensive insight and analysis during the network’s primetime coverage, with Larry King wrapping up each day’s events at midnight. John Roberts will offer the most convention news in the morning on American Morning. CNN will kick off its convention coverage with two distinctive primetime documentaries profiling the leading presidential candidates: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

“This is an election like no other and we’ve been covering it in a brand new way that is connecting with viewers,” says David Bohrman, executive producer of political coverage and Washington bureau chief. “We’ll continue setting the pace and pushing the envelope to give viewers the best seats in the house and the best understanding of what is happening and why.”

In addition to the CNN “ringside” sets and documentaries, other highlights include:

CNN Grills — Situated immediately outside the delegate entrances at both conventions, the CNN Grills are additional broadcast centers that bring delegates, newsmakers and members of the media together to participate in CNN live broadcasts and mingle with CNN guests. At the Democratic convention in Denver, the CNN Grill will be located in Brooklyn’s restaurant adjacent to the Pepsi Center; at the Republican convention in St. Paul, the CNN Grill will take over the Eagle Street Grill next to the Xcel Energy Center. CNN pioneered the concept of the Grills in 2004 with the CNN Diner, which was created for the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York.

Sky Booths — CNN Worldwide will also operate sky booths as interview locations, production rooms and work space. CNN will have multiple booths at the Pepsi Center and at the Xcel Energy Center to accommodate its partners including CNN.com, CNN International, CNN Radio, CNN en Espanol, CNN Newsource, CNN Headline News and TV Asahi.

New Wireless Technology — Advances in wireless microphones and earpieces will make connectivity even more seamless than at the conventions four years ago when CNN first introduced the concept of a floor set in New York. The network will again rely on the latest wireless technology for high-quality coverage from its numerous broadcast locations.

High-Definition (HD) Coverage — CNN will shoot and air the convention in HD and will introduce new HD cameras for this event. New cameras and roving correspondents will provide never-before-seen views inside the halls and the surrounding areas during the two conventions.

CNN “multi-touch” — Often called the “magic wall,” the CNN “multi-touch” will appear at both conventions to better communicate delegate math and the Electoral College breakdown.

CNN Election Express — The network’s mobile news bureau will be parked just steps away from the main delegate entrances at the two conventions. It will serve as the network’s primary production facility for the CNN Grills and the live shot locations, as well as the main transmission vehicle for Sen. Obama’s acceptance speech at Invesco Field.

www.CNN.com and www.CNNPolitics.com — CNN.com will stream live from inside the convention halls and from the CNN Grills during both conventions. Additionally, live reports and behind-the-scenes color will be posted throughout each day to the CNN Political Ticker.

Democratic National Convention programming for the week of Aug. 25:

A special convention edition of American Morning with John Roberts and Kiran Chetry will air Monday, Aug. 25 through Friday, Aug. 29 from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.

A special edition of CNN Newsroom from 9 a.m. to noon will feature anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien and extended segments and frequent live shots from the convention site.

For the noon hour, CNN will feature Soledad O’Brien and anchors Gerri Willis and Ali Velshi live from New York’s Election Center with guests and panel discussions live from CNN’s Grill. The hour will have a convention-focused theme with the role of the economy and other pocketbook issues in the election.

CNN Newsroom will return from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. with Soledad O’Brien leading CNN’s special convention coverage.

Beginning at 4 p.m., lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer will anchor The Situation Room from the convention floor. Each day, the convention will gavel to order while The Situation Room is in progress and offering the first look at that day’s activities.

CNN will move into its primetime convention coverage beginning at approximately 6 p.m. Anchor Anderson Cooper, senior political analyst Gloria Borger, and chief national correspondent John King, along with the “magic wall,” will join Blitzer on CNN’s floor set in the Pepsi Center. The coverage will extend late into the night and lead into a special midnight edition of Larry King Live.

On the final evening, CNN will relocate its political team and resources to Invesco Field at Mile High, where Sen. Obama is expected to accept his party’s nomination.

Throughout the day and evening, CNN’s political team will offer the latest news and thoughtful analysis. Correspondents include Dana Bash, Candy Crowley, Joe Johns, Suzanne Malveaux, Bill Schneider and Jessica Yellin.

Republican National Convention programming for the week of Sept. 1:

Due to the unprecedented back-to-back conventions, CNN will immediately shift its resources and team to St. Paul for special coverage leading up to the Republican National Convention. On Friday, Aug. 29, Wolf Blitzer will arrive in St. Paul to anchor a special edition of The Situation Room.

From Monday, Sept. 1 through Friday, Sept. 5, a special convention edition of American Morning will air from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. with Kiran Chetry and John Roberts.

Throughout the week, a special edition of CNN Newsroom from 9 a.m. to noon will feature anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien presenting extended segments of convention coverage.

A special noon hour will again be led by Soledad O’Brien, Ali Velshi and Gerri Willis and will focus on the economy and presidential politics. The hour will include guests and panelists live from the CNN Grill on site.

CNN Newsroom will return from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. with Soledad O’Brien leading CNN’s special convention coverage with frequent highlights and reports live from St. Paul.

The Situation Room will pick up at 4 p.m. with Wolf Blitzer anchoring from the convention floor.

CNN will move into its special primetime convention coverage beginning at approximately 6 p.m. Campbell Brown, Gloria Borger and John King, along with the “magic wall,” will join Blitzer on CNN’s floor set. The coverage will extend late into the night and lead into a special midnight edition of Larry King Live.

Throughout the day and evening, CNN’s political team will once again offer the latest news and thoughtful analysis. Correspondents include Dana Bash, Candy Crowley, Joe Johns, Suzanne Malveaux, Bill Schneider and Jessica Yellin.

Strength of Multiple Platforms — CNN Radio will have fresh content to offer. Correspondents Lisa Desjardins and Steve Kastenbaum will report from the CNN Grill and the convention hall during the Democratic Convention. Additionally, Desjardins and CNN political analyst Roland Martin will host a talk show live from Denver. At the Republican National Convention the following week, Desjardins and Dick Uliano will report from the CNN Grill and the convention hall, and Desjardins and Martin will again team up for a radio talk show. CNN International anchors Isha Sesay and Jonathan Mann will also report on site. Newsource correspondent Sandra Endo will report each morning from the CNN Grill in Denver and then from the convention hall in St. Paul. In addition, Newsource correspondent Samantha Hayes will be inside the convention halls in both cities.

McCain, Obama Documentaries — Kicking off the network’s extensive political convention coverage, a pair of new CNN documentaries will examine the lives of the two men contending to be the 44th president of the United States. Chief national correspondent John King reports on Sen. John McCain in a one-hour documentary airing on Wednesday, Aug. 20 at 8 p.m., which will be immediately followed by a one-hour documentary on Sen. Barack Obama by White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux. Both documentaries will replay leading up to Election Day.

CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is the most trusted source for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks; one private place-based network; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; CNN Digital Network, the No. 1 network of news Web sites in the United States; CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively syndicated news service; and strategic international partnerships within both television and the digital media.

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