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'CBS Evening News' in Charlotte Friday

By Mark Washburn
mwashburn@charlotteobserver.com
Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn writes television and radio commentary for The Charlotte Observer.

Uptown's skyline at dusk will be the backdrop for the “CBS Evening News with Katie Couric” on Friday, as the newscast originates from Charlotte in its first stop on a three-city tour of election-year battleground states.

In addition to the presidential race, Couric will focus on the tight U.S. Senate contest between Elizabeth Dole and Kay Hagan and will feature interviews with both.

A set for the program will be erected on the roof of the four-story Charlotte School of Law on Suttle Avenue, which is off Wilkinson Boulevard on the edge of uptown.

No visitors will be permitted around the building during the show, said Christina Kapely, a spokeswoman for the law school.

Charlotte is a strong market for the “CBS Evening News,” where it runs No. 2 behind “ABC World News.” Ratings for Couric's 6:30 p.m. newscast in Charlotte are up 16 percent versus the same period a year ago, said Leigh Farris, a CBS spokeswoman.

“CBS Evening News” last originated from Charlotte in November 1996, with Dan Rather anchoring from the Panthers' then-new stadium. North Carolina as a battleground state was the theme of that visit, too.

In July 1989, Rather hosted the newscast from Charlotte's Marshall Park to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its local affiliate, WBTV (Channel 3). “ABC World News with Charles Gibson” was the last major network news show to originate from Charlotte. Gibson broadcast from the dedication of the Billy Graham Library in May 2007.

CBS said Thursday that after Charlotte, the newscast will originate Monday from St. Louis examining the races in Missouri, Indiana and Ohio, and Denver on Oct. 27, covering the key western states of Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada.

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