Limited Capacity of Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena Leaves Networks Scrambling

By Merrill Knox 

The DNC winds down tonight as Barack Obama officially accepts his party’s nomination for President. Obama’s speech was originally set to happen at the 74,000-seat Bank of America Stadium, a plan which was scrapped due to a forecast of storms. With weather and venue change concerns out of the way, the cable and broadcast networks have a new problem: the capacity of the Time Warner Cable Arena.

Insiders tell us the venue was filled to capacity shortly after 8pmET last night, more than two hours before Bill Clinton‘s speech. NBC’s David Gregory, Fox News Channel’s Ed Henry and ABC’s Jake Tapper were all locked out for a time, though all three eventually made it inside. Guests with planned appearances from the skyboxes were also stranded outside, leaving the cable networks to shuffle their lineups.

TVNewser hears that cable and broadcast networks are telling all on-air talent and guests to be inside the arena tonight two hours before the speeches begin — which is right around now — to avoid a repeat situation. We also hear the DNC’s Organizing Committee is asking that the networks only allow “essential” personnel in, warning that staffers will be turned away if capacity is reached.