This week, TV's main event is the Republic National Convention, already underway in New York. Much like its Democratic counterpart, broadcast and cable news organizations are promising textured coverage and extensive analysis. But broadcasters are offering slim prime time coverage, just one hour on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. For convention junkies, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN and ABC's digital channel ABC News Now promise to be all convention, all the time. Here are some highlights of this week's coverage:
ABC's 24-7 digital network ABC News Now may survive post-election, the original end-date for the experimental network. ABC News Senior Vice President Paul Slavin says the odds are good. For now, the channel, also distributed via broadband, is a shoestring operation. Though it airs with mostly borrowed staff from other shows, it gives ABC an outlet for round-the-clock news. For the RNC, highlights include Peter Jennings anchoring a daily show and an interactive newscast hosted by Sam Donaldson and Hari Sreenivasan.
Over on ABC, Good Morning America
anchor Charlie Gibson will report from the convention, as will World News Tonight's Jennings and Nightline's Ted Koppel. The convention will not disrupt Monday Night Football, which will be aired Aug. 30 with a news update at halftime.
The Early Show's Harry Smith will co-anchor from Madison Square Garden, and The Evening News
with Dan Rather will be there, too. At the 2004 RNC, Rather is anchoring his 12th convention and reporting from his 22nd political convention. The network will offer free Webcasts of all major speeches and other video highlights on its Web site, www.cbsnews.com.
Comedian Dennis Miller takes his prime time show to Madison Square Garden. He'll riff on the speeches and call in an eclectic team of special correspondents to report, from Rev. Al Sharpton to Last Comic Standing
contestant Ant. During CNBC's daytime, Capital Report with Alan Murray and Gloria Borger
airs from the convention.
Manhattan's Tick Tock Diner, a block away from Madison Square Garden, is being transformed into a CNN hangout for the RNC, with food and wireless service for delegates and guests. Crossfire
will air from there. Parked out front will be CNN's mobile studio bus, the "Election Express," where Judy Woodruff will host afternoon show Inside Politics.
Like in Boston, CNN anchors will report from the convention floor, and 30 staffers will contribute. To add new flavor to the coverage, four delegates will be outfitted with small cameras and dispatched as embedded reporters.
FNC should draw big ratings for its RNC coverage. Fox Report with Shepard Smith, The O'Reilly Factor
and Hannity & Colmes, will keep their usual time slots. Greta Van Susteren will host an expanded version of On the Record
nightly from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fox's radio network and Web site will offer live coverage of major events and regular news updates.
NBC Nightly News
anchor Tom Brokaw turns cable host daily at 4 p.m. with a half-hour newscast on MSNBC. He'll also anchor Nightly News
from Madison Square Garden. NBC will be live Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night in the 10 p.m. hour. Over on MSNBC, Joe Scarborough and Ron Reagan will host the recap on After Hours
from midnight to 2 a.m. NBC Mobile will send updates throughout the day to cellphone users.