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Cable Programmers Prepare For Audience With the Pope

When Pope Francis this week visits Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia, the forecast is for serious traffic disruption and lots of local news coverage. For the rest of the country, as well, there will be plentiful options to keep up with the pontiff’s first visit.

The pope’s travel schedule will find him in Rome and Havana, Cuba, on Saturday, Sept. 19. He visits sites in Cuba until Tuesday (Sept. 22), when he departs for Washington, D.C., where he will remain until Thursday (Sept. 24). He arrives in New York City Thursday morning, and his stay (until Saturday morning) includes a Friday morning address to the United Nations General Assembly. On Saturday he flies to Philadelphia. He returns to Rome Sunday night, Sept. 27.

Time Warner Cable’s TWC News operation is producing a special Papal Visit Channel that kicks off at 8 a.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 20, in TWC and Bright House Networks cable markets. TWC’s Local on Demand channel 1020 also is adding a “Pope Francis” category with religious documentaries and coverage of prior popes’ visits to the United States. The Papal Visit Channel is on TWC’s channel 199 or 299, depending on the market, and for Bright House Networks customers the channel locations are more varied. Cablevision Systems will carry the Papal Visit Channel on channel 206.

EWTN and The CatholicTV Network, as one might expect, plan extensive coverage. EWTN will live stream (from www.ewtn.com/america) the entire visit, and will have news teams covering for EWTN television, radio and electronic sites. “Covering the Pope is what we do year round on a daily basis,” EWTN president and COO Doug Keck said in a release. CatholicTV Network has a coverage schedule that kicks off from Pope Francis’s arrival at Joint Base Andrews on Tuesday through the airport farewell in Philadelphia Sunday at 7:45 p.m.

Among the all-news outlets, Fox News Channel has plotted out live coverage from Tuesday through Sunday, including of the first-ever address by a pope to a joint session of Congress, which takes place on Thursday. And Fusion said its coverage will include two primetime specials, Saint or Sinner: Pope Francis on Sunday (Sept. 20) and Losing My Religion?, a special edition of America With Jorge Ramos, on Tuesday, Sept. 22.