CNN announced its coverage plans for the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, which will include focus groups with undecided North Carolina voters.
Sam Feist, CNN's Washington bureau chief, said the network will be discussing the voters' reactions to the convention because North Carolina is considered one of the swing states in the election. "Who thought North Carolina would be a battleground state, but for the last two elections it has been," Feist said Tuesday.
Undecided voters will be chosen by a polling firm hired by CNN and the discussions with correspondent Tom Foreman will be held at the CNN Grill, a staple of modern conventions put up by the network to feed staffers and guests, and also serve as a studio for some of the shows. Vida Mexican Kitchen y Cantina, at the EpiCenter across from the Time Warner Cable Arena, is being taken over for the CNN Grill.
Wolf Blitzer will kick off CNN's coverage on Aug. 31, the day after the RNC ends in Tampa. His "Situation Room" broadcast will air at 4 p.m. that day and continue daily through the convention week.
Other highlights in CNN's plan:
- Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Erin Burnett, Piers Morgan, Candy Crowley, Soledad O'Brien, John Berman, Brooke Baldwin and Suzanne Malveaux will be key anchors.
- Coverage will begin each day at 5 a.m. and go through the day and into prime time, with a midnight broadcast by Morgan.
- Among the key reporters on the story will be White House correspondents Brianna Keilar and Jessica Yellin, national correspondent John King, congressional correspondent Dana Bash, correspondent Joe Johns and political analysts Gloria Borger and David Gergen.
- "State of the Union with Candy Crowley" will air from Charlotte at 9 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 2, followed by "Reliable Sources" with Howard Kurtz at 11 a.m.
- John Berman will host "Early Start" from the CNN Grill beginning at 5 a.m. Labor Day and on through the week. Also originating from the CNN Grill will be "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" at 9 a.m. daily, moving to a local diner on Friday.
- "CNN Newsroom" will be live from Charlotte each day at noon.
- At 7 p.m. on Labor Day, "America's Choice 2012: Countdown to the Democratic Convention" will air live from Charlotte.
- CNN Digital will stream key parts of the convention.