CNN's Empire State Building takeover is latest election night gimmick

CNN | Tampa Bay Times
On an election night, one thing you can always count on is CNN coming up with some new off-the-wall gimmick to jazz up its broadcast.

You may recall in 2008 it was holograms, with correspondent Jessica Yellin and musical artist Will.i.am appearing virtually on the New York set.

Tonight, CNN is turning its efforts back to the physical world, transforming the Empire State Building into a giant glowing electoral college meter:

As CNN projects winners in each state, the iconic beacon of Gotham will be exclusively displaying the race to 270 electoral votes with a vertical LED illuminated “meter” on its spire—blue for President Obama, and red for former Governor Romney.

And when CNN projects a winner in the presidential election, the full spire and upper floors change colors to either red or blue.

[caption id="attachment_194489" align="alignleft" width="440" caption="CNN's Empire State Building lighting technology, in a recent test preparing for tonight."][/caption]

The Tampa Bay Times' Eric Deggans observes, "they better get it right, because any mistake will be immortalized on postcards until the next presidential election and beyond."

There's more, of course. CNN's John King will be back at "The Magic Wall" working his life-size touchscreen magic. And Correspondent Tom Foreman will use "the virtual studio" in Washington to present a “Virtual Senate” visualization of the balance of power in Congress.

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    Jeff Sonderman

    Jeff Sonderman is the deputy director of the American Press Institute, helping to lead its use of research, tools, events, and strategic insights to advance and sustain journalism.

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