ABC News Reveals Convention Coverage Plans

Donna Ward/WireImage; Mark Sagliocco, Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
From left: George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts, David Muir

George Stephanopoulos will lead coverage on both the Republican and Democratic conventions, which are being held July 18-21 in Cleveland and July 25-28 in Philadelphia, respectively.

ABC News will dedicate an hour in primetime on each of the four nights of the upcoming political conventions. That is one more hour than in years past when ABC, as well as NBC and CBS, dedicated one hour to the last three nights of the Republican and Democratic conventions. 

Chief anchor George Stephanopoulos will lead coverage on both the Republican and Democratic conventions, which are being held July 18-21 in Cleveland and July 25-28 in Philadelphia, respectively. World News Tonight's David Muir will anchor the broadcast Sunday through Thursday from Cleveland and Philadelphia, while Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts will co-anchor Good Morning America from the convention cities Monday through Thursday. Additionally, the network will break into regular programming with special reports as news warrants.

CBS News and NBC News have yet to announce coverage plans for the conventions, which kick off July 18 with a Donald Trump-headlined Republican convention and continue July 25, when Hillary Clinton will be formally named the Democratic candidate for president. But John Dickerson, moderator of Sunday public affairs program Face the Nation, will lead CBS News' coverage and also broadcast his show from the convention locales. NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt also will anchor his program from the Republican and Democratic convention sites. 

Neither candidate has revealed a formal speaker schedule, though Trump promised to do so Wednesday. Meanwhile, many establishment Republicans (including the Bush family and Mitt Romney and John McCain, the last two GOP nominees) have vowed to stay away from Trump's convention.

On Sunday, Trump revealed via his Twitter account what many have expected; that his wife and family will command high-profile (read: primetime) speaking slots at the gathering. Previously, he tweeted that the slots are "totally filled" and hinted that he would use his connections in the worlds of sports and media to enlist appearances from out-of-the-box personalties. But a June 29 report that controversial boxer Mike Tyson would attend was disavowed by both camps. Similarly, a rumor circulating that TV producer Mark Burnett, who helms NBC reality hits The Apprentice and The Voice, would have a hand in Trump’s convention was flatly disavowed by a representative for Burnett. 

Clinton’s convention is expected to have a much more traditional lineup of speakers, although there will be plenty of Democratic star power. President Barack Obama, who officially hit the campaign trail for Clinton on Tuesday, and Bill Clinton and the couple’s daughter, Chelsea, are likely to participate.

The broadcast networks usually dedicate just one primetime hour on three of the four nights of the conventions. With entertainment schedules sagging in a fractured media environment, all were weighing whether to expand coverage beyond that when it looked like there would be a brokered convention on the Republican side. 

But cable news, which has seen record ratings during the volatile 2016 presidential campaigns and primary debates, is gearing up to devote significant resources and airtime to the conventions. Fox News will have several programs originating from the conventions, including Bret Baier's Special Report and Megyn Kelly's The Kelly File. CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker has said the network will cover the conventions gavel-to-gavel.

And news divisions won't simply be covering the happenings inside the convention halls. Protests are expected at both conventions. Supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders have vowed to disrupt the Democratic convention and protesters continue to amass at Trump's campaign stops where supporters have clashed — at times violently — with Trump dissenters. So the networks could actually have a news event on their hands.

"I think the people we’ll send are going to have more to do than they did in recent times," CBS News president David Rhodes told The Hollywood Reporter recently.

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