A Mile High Quandry for the Networks

By Chris Ariens 

First on TVNewser: Network insiders tell TVNewser an emergency meeting of the five networks (ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX & NBC) will occur Monday afternoon to determine what to do about Thursday’s news that Sen. Barack Obama may accept the Democratic nomination for president at Invesco Field at Mile High rather than at the Pepsi Center where the first three days of next month’s convention will be held.

No decision has been made but insiders tell us the Obama campaign is expected to announce the move on Monday. While the Pepsi Center can hold about 21,000 people Invesco Field can accommodate more than 76,000.

This creates issues for the networks for whom the costly setup, transmission and overall operation of the first three days and nights now might mean moving production of the final night to the Denver Broncos football stadium. Workspaces, anchor locations and all that goes along with a remote network news production would have to be shuffled for the final night.

The networks could hold off on sending resources for the first three days and devote more of their budgets to the final day. Its doubtful, however, that the networks would forgo sending their star anchors. The cable networks and news Websites could also use the DNC feed of the proceedings for the first three days, something networks are not prone to do since it would mean giving up editorial control to the party. Last year, Fox News Channel was selected to supply the pool feed for the Democratic convention; NBC is the pool for the RNC in Minneapolis a week later.

Adding to the historic nature of the convention, the final night, August 28, is the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

(ed. note: TVNewser’s Steve Krakauer will be in Denver covering the DNC).