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The Situation Room
Title card
Format News Program
Presented by Wolf Blitzer
Country of origin United States
Location(s) CNN Studios Washington, D.C.
Running time 180 minutes
Original channel CNN
Picture format 480i (SDTV),
1080i (HDTV)
Original run August 8, 2005 (2005-08-08) – present
External links
Official website

The Situation Room is an afternoon/early evening newscast on CNN and CNN International hosted by Wolf Blitzer that first aired on August 8, 2005. The show replaces three politics and hard news programs (Judy Woodruff's Inside Politics, Crossfire (canceled on June 3, 2005) and Wolf Blitzer Reports).

At first, the newscast aired live from 3–6 p.m. ET and was subdivided into an hour devoted to politics, an hour devoted to security, and an hour devoted to international news. However, on November 2, 2005, CNN announced that The Situation Room would be chopped up: block 1 would air live from 4–6 p.m. ET, and block 2 would air live from 7–8 p.m. ET (taking over the timeslot held by Anderson Cooper 360 which moved to 10 p.m. ET). Lou Dobbs Tonight aired between the two blocks. Effective November 5, 2007, the show reverted to a single 3-hour block from 4:00–7:00pm ET to give more focus to the presidential election scheduled to take place 1 year from that date. Lou Dobbs Tonight has moved up to 7:00 pm ET. The third hour of The Situation Room is simulcasted on CNN International.

While The Situation Room has its own correspondents dedicated to the show, including Brian Todd, Zain Verjee, Abbi Tatton and Mary Snow, the show also makes use of top CNN journalists from across CNN's networks, such as Gloria Borger, John King, Candy Crowley, Ali Velshi, Bill Schneider and Suzanne Malveaux. A number of pundits make regular appearances, including Paul Begala, James Carville, and Donna Brazile.

The show begins with the following (or a variation of this) phrase: To our viewers: You're in the Situation Room - where news and information are arriving all the time. Standing by: CNN reporters across the United States and around the world to bring you the day's top stories. Happening Now ... I'm Wolf Blitzer, and You're in the Situation Room." Another phrase Blitzer commonly uses, due to the show now being aired on CNN International is - "To Our Viewers in the United States and Around the World I'm Wolf Blitzer and You're in the Situation Room."

The Happening Now statement to introduce the day's top stories is a remnant from the show's primary predecessor, Wolf Blitzer Reports.

The show has garnered criticism for devoting excessive coverage to human interest stories, notably devoting almost an hour of commercial free coverage to a story about a virus affecting their Windows 2000 computers.[1] Much of the criticism comes from satirist Jon Stewart, who has mocked the reporting of the show on multiple occasions. Saturday Night Live would later lampoon The Situation Room following the fallout from the death of Anna Nicole Smith and its excessive news coverage of the story in early 2007. However, the show also earned critical praise for its multiple-screen coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

On January 24, 2009, the Situation Room premiered a Saturday edition, which shows highlights of interviews aired during the weekday editions.

Behind the scenes and studio uses

The Situation Room differs in some ways from similar cable news programs. For instance, use of eight video screens requires extra coordination. Two control rooms are used: One is exclusively used for the show itself, while the second is used to maintain content in the large eight-panel video wall. The show also makes use of live RSS feeds of news wire headlines that scroll in the background at various times during the show. Live video feeds are commonly present in the show's format.

The show is broadcast live from CNN's studios in Washington D.C but the show airs from the Time Warner Center in New York City during major voting events starting with the 2006 mid-term elections. This allows the show to make use of the New York Studio's larger video walls and high definition cameras. In 2008 this temporary move was done during the afternoons of major Presidential primary days, party conventions, debate nights and the week leading up to Election night when host Blitzer takes part in CNN's "Election Center" coverage as well as major presidential addresses. (Contributor Jack Cafferty and correspondent Mary Snow are regularly based at the Time Warner Center.)

Typically when Blitzer is in locations other than New York, the camera crew will still shoot the DC set, utilizing the video walls to show incoming images as well as a live feed of Blitzer.

The style of the Situation Room has been mimicked on other CNN programs, most notably the International Desk on CNN International, which is presented by Hala Gorani. The International Desk uses a large rear projection display with multiple video feeds much like the Situation Room, but the program's format features much more international news than the Situation Room.

Preceded by
CNN Newsroom
CNN Weekday Lineup
Succeeded by
CNN Tonight


External links



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