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ABC releases RNC plans, will air only three nights of coverage in prime time



abc_george_diane_jef_120107_wg.jpgABC News will send several of its stars to Tampa for the Republican National Convention, including top anchor Diane Sawyer, Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos and Nightline co-host Terry Moran.

But much of that coverage won't make it to ABC's prime time broadcasts, as the network currently plans only to air an hour of coverage at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the convention, Aug. 28 to 30.

The announcement continues a pattern of cutting back on convention broadcasts by the networks, which have criticized the political conventions as highly-scripted infomercials for the parties, where little breaking news actually occurs. (in 2008, the impact of Hurricane Gustav kept broadcast networks from extensively covering the start of the RNC in primetime.)

Especially given the presence of cable TV news outlets and online players such as the Huffington Post, POLITICO and BuzzFeed, there may be less demand than ever for continuous coverage from TV networks working to draw large numbers of general viewers.

The network's coverage starts with Sawyer's Monday edition of World News, which she'll anchor from Tampa on Monday, Aug. 27. Stephanopoulos will co-anchor GMA from Tampa in the days to follow, while Sawyer helms World News from the convention and Moran offers special editions of Nightline from Tampa. Univision anchor Jorge Ramos is also expected to contribute to the network's coverage in Tampa, in line with their partnership on a Hispanic-centered news and information network.

The network plans more coverage online, presenting reports from 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., and through its radio network, where reports will air from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on each day of the convention. It's also teaming with Spanish-language network Univision and the National journal for a series of discussions on Hispanics and American politics to be held in Tampa and the Democrats' convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Here's a few more details from ABC's press release:

Sawyer and Stephanopoulos will be joined by ABC News’ political team including:
    Senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl reporting from the convention floor
    Senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper covering the President’s re-election campaign
    “World News” weekend anchor David Muir covering the Romney campaign
    ABC News correspondent Cecilia Vega reporting from both conventions cities
    Senior political analyst Matthew Dowd, George Will, Cokie Roberts and Donna Brazile will be among ABC’s contributors providing analysis
    ABC News political director Amy Walter and Yahoo! News Washington bureau chief David Chalian anchoring special live-streamed coverage every night
    Senior Washington editor Rick Klein contributing reporting and analysis.

Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos will anchor live primetime coverage of the Republican National Convention (#abcRNC) in Tampa for the ABC Television Network on:
    Tuesday, August 28 from 10:00-11:00 p.m., ET
    Wednesday, August 29 from 10:00-11:00 p.m., ET
    Thursday, August 30 from 10:00 -11:00 p.m., ET


[Last modified: Friday, August 17, 2012 7:27am]


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