Cablers jump on convention brand wagon

Webs use political events to raise their profiles

Political conventions long ago shed most elements of suspense, but they have become huge opportunities for cable networks to further their brands.

On Tuesday, Current TV announced that former Vice President Al Gore will lead the channel’s coverage of the Democratic and Republican conventions, joining Jennifer Granholm, Eliot Spitzer and Cenk Uygur, all of whom headline primetime talkshows. California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom will join for the coverage of the Republican National Convention.

That doesn’t mean that Gore is going to have “traditional anchor responsiblities,” a spokeswoman said, but will be part of the panel. As the network has turned to former and current pols in its transition to a personality-driven format, Gore has been featured as part of its election coverage, including major nights of the GOP primary. For the conventions, Gore and the other panelists will be based in New York, with David Shuster and Michael Shure reporting from both conventions.

Joy Behar and John Fugelsang will also appear, and Behar’s new Current show “Joy Behar: Say Anything!” will debut on Sept. 4 and lead in to the DNC coverage.

Meanwhile, TV One and NBC News unveiled a partnership to cover the conventions and election night.

TV One, aimed at African American viewers, will air four hours of coverage each on the final evenings of the Democratic and Republican conventions, with Craig Melvin of NBC News anchoring from NBC’s D.C. studios and Roland Martin of TV One’s “Washington Watch” contributing segments and analysis. TV One correspondents, NBC News reporters and writers for TheGrio also will contribute. Partnership continues on Nov. 6, election night. All three nights will be under the “TV One: One Vote Matters” banner.