Back in March, on the night of the Texas and Ohio primaries, we were invited down to the NYC headquarters of FOX News to see first-hand how FOX does it up on primary night. To cut a long story short…we were introduced to Bill Hemmer and his equally-famous 'Bill Board' -- in essence, a plasma screen on steroids!
Well, about a week after that piece aired, we got a call from none other than rival mega-network CNN -- casually asking us if we'd like to come pay them a visit and see how they do it!
So yesterday, on the night of the Pennsylvania primary, myself, cameraman Brendan Kennedy, and producer "Monty" Montalto headed down to the impressive CNN Election Center. We soon found ourselves face-to-face with John King and his "Magic Wall." And in all seriousness, his plasma screen gave FOX a run for their money.
At 81 x 48 inches, the touch-screen plasma is an impressive piece of kit (a stripped-down version will set you back $100,000). Originally created for use by the military (yes, the military), the screen has become a popular feature in their election coverage. As the legendary Wolf Blitzer (who does an hour everyday on the treadmill: FACT) rehearsed his lines behind us, King gave us an impressive demonstration as to what the "Magic Wall" was capable of.
The same size and color as FOX's bad boy (the screen that is!), the CNN touchscreen didn't seem all that different, aside from the software -- and, of course, the guy standing beside it!
And yes, after having gotten close to the "Bill Board," I insisted on playing with the "Magic Wall." But it would be impolite to tell you which was a better time.