CNN Announces Convention Plans, Includes Virtual Reality Experience

By A.J. Katz 

CNN will deliver 24-hour, cross-platform coverage of the 2016 Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Each night, the network’s signature on-air talent, including Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Jake TapperDana Bash, Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon, will be on-site to anchor the weeknight America’s Choice 2016 coverage live from Cleveland and Philadelphia. Late night coverage will be anchored by Lemon.

Brooke Baldwin, Victor Blackwell, Erin Burnett, Alisyn Camerota, Carol Costello, Poppy Harlow, Christi Paul, Christine Romans, Michael Smerconish, Kate Bolduan, John Berman, and Fredricka Whitfield will also anchor from the convention sites.

Additional CNN correspondents, analysts and reporters on-site include: Jim Acosta, Gloria Borger, Jason Carroll, David Chalian, Nia-Malika Henderson, Brianna Keilar, MJ Lee, Miguel Marquez, Phil Mattingly, Chris Moody, Sara Murray, Evan Perez, Mark Preston, Manu Raju, Maeve Reston, Martin Savage, Jessica Schneider, Sara Sidner, Brian Stelter, Ryan Young, and Jeff Zeleny.


John King will report from inside the convention halls using the CNN Magic Wall, John Berman will host focus groups and Tom Foreman will lead the daily Reality Check team.

Here’s a look at CNN’s convention programming schedule:

  • Sunday includes 18 hours of programming from Cleveland and Philadelphia with New Day, Inside Politics, State of the Union and Reliable Sources live from inside the convention halls. Further, there will be Sunday editions of The Situation Room, Erin Burnett OutFront, AC360 and CNN Tonight with Don Lemon.
  • Beginning each Monday, CNN will offer 24 hours of live programming from the convention halls and CNN Grill including the network’s Early Start, New Day, Newsroom, At This Hour, Wolf, The Lead, The Situation Room, Erin Burnett Outfront, AC 360, and CNN Tonight with Don Lemon.
  • A special weekday hour of Inside Politics with John King will air daily from the CNN Grill from 12 to 1 p.m. ET.
  • CNN’s special weekend coverage from Cleveland and Philadelphia will kick off on the Saturday prior to each convention with New Day Weekend, Smerconish and CNN Newsroom.

In addition to insight from campaign surrogates, political commentators and party insiders, CNN will have roaming cameras on the floor of both conventions, multiple sets from inside the halls, and several reporting locations surrounding the convention centers.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the network’s convention coverage hails from the digital side. Not only will CNN Digital roll out convention-related content on their mobile app and on their various social media platforms, but CNNVR will deliver an exclusive virtual reality experience as that will bring the user directly onto the convention floor for key speeches and delegate activity.

CNNI and CNN Espanol will both be represented both in Cleveland and Philly. Here’s a look at their lineup:

  • CNN International will provide live coverage from both sites starting Monday, July 18. Christiane Amanpour will anchor Amanpour, live and on-site at 2 p.m. ET, followed by State of the Race with Kate Bolduan at 2:30 p.m. ET and The World Right Now with Hala Gorani at 3 p.m. ET.
  • CNN en Español’s morning program Café CNN (6 to 11amET) will broadcast live from both sites, with Maria Alejandra Requena anchoring from the RNC and Alejandra Oraa anchoring from the DNC. Directo USA (6 p.m. ET) will broadcast live on location both weeks with senior political anchor Juan Carlos Lopéz. Ione Molinares, Gustavo Valdes and Maria Santa will also report from the conventions.

Last but not least is the CNN Grill. In cooperation with a lineup of vendors and partners, CNN will host lawmakers, celebrities, reporters and politicos at a hospitality venue named CNN Grill. Situated right outside the convention halls in both Cleveland and Philly, the CNN Grill will be located at Harry Buffalo for the RNC and Victory Beer Hall for the DNC. The Grill will serve as home base for the network with a newsroom and live broadcasts daily, a restaurant, and multiple bars.  It will play host to a variety of special events throughout the day and will open to invited guests nightly at 5 p.m. from Monday, July 18 – Thursday, July 21 in Cleveland and Monday, July 25 – Thursday, July 29 in Philadelphia.