TV news staffers, start your (jet) engines. The Vatican has announced that the Conclave to elect the next Pope will begin on Tuesday, March 12 after morning mass. 115 Cardinals will participate in the vote, which will almost certainly become a major television event.

This will be the second conclave since the birth of cable news. The last conclave, held in 2005 following the death of Pope John Paul II, lasted for one day, with Pope Benedict XVI elected after four ballots. Coverage went almost around the clock.

In February, Pope Benedict announced that he would be stepping down as Pope, the first Pope to do so since 1415. His departure, quite rightly, became a huge TV news story.