DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION (Monday through Thursday): Whatever it says about the commercial networks' sense of civic duty, their coverage of this event has boiled down to a measly hour per night in NBC's case, and on Tuesday night CBS won't even be devoting a regular program to the convention, airing instead baseball's All-Star Game (although CBS carefully points out there will be convention updates "on an interrupt basis").
PBS has a special deal worked out with NBC, the first of its kind, with NBC's Tom Brokaw combining forces with PBS's Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer. ABC's convention schedule wasn't set at press time.
Political conventions used to be covered almost gavel to gavel on those three networks, but viewers will now have to watch C-SPAN on cable for that, or they can see CNN's live coverage buttressed by special reports. One reason is the absence of suspense and hard news during recent conventions, which tend to be staged ceremonies whose quasi-raucous tone is a ritual echo of the days when there was a true jostling for victory.
Here are the schedules. Please check local listings for the many additions and changes that are expected.
ABC: Unavailable at press time.
CBS: Mon.: 9:30-11 p.m.; Wed., 10-11 p.m.; Thurs., 9-11 p.m.
NBC: Mon. through Wed: 10-11 p.m.; Thurs.: 9:30-11 p.m.
PBS: Mon through Thurs., 8-11 p.m.