DNC 2020: How to Watch the Democratic National Convention

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Donald Trump, Jill Biden, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Television News

This year’s Democratic National Convention, as is the case with most events that have taken place amid the coronavirus pandemic, is going to look very different than usual this year. It has already been announced that the convention, which will be held from Aug. 17-20, is going virtual. Democrats plan to formally nominate former vice president Joe Biden, who recently announced that his VP pick is Sen. Kamala Harris, for president, and he will be giving his acceptance speech from his home in Delaware.

Plenty of high-profile speakers have been tapped to give addresses on each day of the convention. Monday, Aug. 17 will feature Michelle Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and more, while Tuesday, Aug. 18 has lined up the likes of Jill Biden, Bill Clinton, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, among others. Wednesday, Aug. 19’s speakers include Barack Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Sen. Harris. On Thursday, Aug. 20, the last day of the convention, speakers include Biden himself, as well as his family, plus Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Sen. Cory Booker. The full list of DNC’s speaker schedule can be found here.

So, will the way news networks cover the DNC be changed by the year’s unprecedented circumstances? Take a look at what kind of coverage of this year’s Democratic National Convention you can expect to see on ABC, CBS, and more.

How Newsrooms Are Tackling 2020 Political Convention Coverage Without the Spectacle

ABC News

ABC News will host nightly special coverage of the DNC from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET. Byron Pitts, Martha Raddatz, Jonathan Karl, Pierre Thomas, Tom Llamas, Cecilia Vega, Terry Moran, Nate Silver, and Matthew Dowd will report on the state of the election, with contributors Chris Christie, Yvette Simpson, Rahm Emanuel, Heidi Heitkamp, Sara Fagen, and Leah Wright Rigueur will provide analysis. Mary Bruce, Rachel Scott, and Alex Perez will be in the field reporting on developments from the convention. 

ABC News Live, the network’s streaming site, will kick off primetime coverage each day at 7 p.m. ET, lead by Linsey Davis, while George Stephanopoulos will anchor the 9 p.m. coverage. Each morning at 9 a.m. ET, Diane Macedo will anchor previews and recaps of the conventions throughout the day. Live digital coverage will also be available on ABC News Digital and FiveThirtyEight, while ABC News Radio will offer three hours of coverage each night of the convention starting at 8 p.m. ET.

CBS News

From 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET, CBS News will dedicate one hour to covering each night of the convention, anchored by Norah O’Donnell who will be joined by John Dickerson, María Elena Salinas, Jamal Simmons, and Leslie Sanchez. CBS News’ coverage will include live analysis from Valerie Jarrett, Reince Priebus, Robby Mook, Joel Payne, Anthony Salvanto, and Terry Sullivan. CBSN will also offer live coverage of the convention beginning at 5 p.m. ET, anchored by Elaine Quijano, who will also continue coverage later in the evening at 8:30 p.m. ET.

On the digital end, CBS News will stream coverage of the DNC on its website and the CBS News mobile app, with live blog coverage also beginning each day at 5 p.m. ET. For radio listeners, CBS News Radio will provide live coverage and short-form special reports from Steven Portnoy, Steve Futterman, and Peter Maer, with analysis from Leonard Steinhorn.


C-SPAN will be providing live coverage of both the DNC and RNC on C-SPAN, C-SPAN.org, and C-SPAN Radio. The organization’s coverage will be free of commercials and commentary during the event but will feature live reactions each night following the convention, with a nightly recap from senior political editor Steve Scully. C-SPAN’s live morning call-in program Washington Journal will also air convention coverage from 7 a.m.-10 a.m. ET daily, and C-SPAN will present archival footage from previous conventions at 6 p.m. ET each night. 


Every night of the convention, CNN will air special footage from 8 p.m to 2 a.m. ET, hosted by Wolf Blitzer, Jake Tapper, Anderson Cooper, Dana Bash, and John King, with Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon joining from 12 a.m. to 2 a.m. ET. Additional reporting on the convention will be done by Jeff Zeleny, Arlette Saenz, Jessica Dean, and MJ Lee, with analysis to be provided by David Chalian, Gloria Borger, David Axelrod, Nia-Malika Henderson, Abby Phillip, and Mark Preston. DNC commentators include Van Jones, Jennifer Granholm, Andrew Yang, and Scott Jennings. 

CNN Politics will cover the convention on the digital end, and CNN Audio will debut two new politics during the DNC. CNN Political Briefing is scheduled to premiere on Monday, Aug. 17th, and Politically Sound will premiere on Friday, Aug. 21. Axe Files with David Axelrod will also feature convention reporting. On YouTube, The Point with Chris Cillizza will feature special convention programming and will bring in Democrat strategists to answer questions.

FOX News

FOX News will begin its special DNC programming beginning Sunday Aug. 16 at 10 p.m. ET with an hour-long special, Democracy 2020: Convention Kickoff, anchored by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum. Baier and MacCallum will host live primetime editions of the Democracy 2020 special each night of the convention, joined by a rotating team of commentators and hosts including Chris Wallace, Brit Hume, Dana Perino, and Juan Williams, with Donna Brazile, Karl Rove, and Katie Pavlich on deck to offer analysis. Peter Doocy and Jacqui Heinrich will provide coverage from Delaware, where Biden is expected to give his nomination acceptance speech. Other correspondents will report from battleground states, while Mike Tobin will cover from the convention grounds, and John Roberts will provide live reaction from President Trump’s campaign.

Digital coverage of the DNC will be provided on FOXNews.com, including live blogging and videos of key speeches. On the radio end of things, FOX News Radio will provide live coverage through the FOX News Mobile App led by Jared Halpern and Josh Kraushaar.

FOX Business Network

FBN senior vice president and managing editor of business news Neil Cavuto will lead live coverage of the Democratic National Convention beginning Wednesday, August 19th. FOX Business Presents Democracy 2020: Democratic National Convention, will air from 9-11:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday and Thursday, featuring live coverage of speeches by Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris in the lead up to Biden formally accepting the Democratic nomination for president. Cavuto will also be joined by a rotating panel of FBN personalities and pundits including Lou Dobbs, Lisa “Kennedy” Montgomery, Gerry Baker and economist Stephen Moore, among others. Additionally, FBN’s After the Bell co-anchor Connell McShane will join Cavuto live from West Chester, Pennsylvania on Wednesday and Scranton, Pennsylvania on Thursday, breaking down the day’s events from convention headquarters.


MSNBC will deliver live coverage of the DNC from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. ET each night. Rachel Maddow, with Joy Reid and Nicolle Wallace, will kick off special Decision 2020 convention coverage each night at 9 p.m. ET, while Brian Williams will begin his coverage at 11 p.m. ET, followed by Ari Melber at 1 a.m. ET. MSNBC and NBC News correspondents will also contribute to MSNBC Dayside reporting. 

NBC News

Each night of the DNC, NBC News will air a nightly Special Report from 10 to 11 p.m. ET, with Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie, Chuck Todd, and Andrea Mitchell anchoring. NBC News NOW, NBC News’ online streaming site, will also offer free convention footage daily, with Todd hosting special coverage every night starting 8 p.m. ET. Reporters Vaughn Hillyard and Dasha Burns will report for NBC News’ County to County through the DNC, highlighting the issues voters are facing in the U.S. NBC News correspondents will also contribute to daily coverage on NBC News’ TODAY and NBC Nightly News. For digital coverage, the NBC News digital politics team will live blog all nights of both the convention.

PBS News

PBS NewsHour, which airs nightly on PBS local stations (check your local listings) and streams online beginning at 6 p.m. ET, plans to produce and broadcast live primetime coverage of the DNC in Milwaukee, which will air on PBS stations nationwide and across PBS’s digital platforms. It will be anchored by managing editor Judy Woodruff at the PBS studio in Arlington, Virginia, with senior national correspondent Amna Nawaz, correspondent Lisa Desjardins, and White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor reporting from the field and/or remotely. Guests will include Cook Political Report national editor Amy Walter, syndicated columnist Mark Shields, New York Times columnist David Brooks, Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post national political reporter and moderator of PBS’s Washington Week Robert Costa, American Greatness editor Chris Buskirk, and former Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter, among others.

Noticias Telemundo

Noticias Telemundo will be livestreaming its coverage of the convention on NoticiasTelemundo.com, along with its virtual mobile app and on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. The convention coverage team includes anchors José Díaz-Balart and Julio Vaqueiro, senior Washington correspondent Cristina Londoño, and national correspondents Javier Vega and Ruben Pereida. Daily news will also be included in Telemundo’s morning show Un Nuevo Día at 7 a.m. ET and at 6:30 p.m. ET and 11:35 p.m. newscasts. José Díaz-Balart will also host a one-hour primetime special Decision 2020: La Noche de Biden on Thursday, Aug. 20 at 9:54 p.m. ET. 

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