Convention Mania!

Who to watch at the political Olympics

Elizabeth Dwoskin, Meghan Walsh, Michael Dolgow

BLOOMBERG (10); ALAMY (1); AP PHOTO (7); EVERETT COLLECTION (2); GETTY IMAGES (13); LANDOV (1)

TAMPA

Tampa Bay Times Forum capacity: 19,500

KEYNOTE: CHRIS CHRISTIE

Born to run — just not in 2012 — the New Jersey governor will provide Springsteen lyrics and partisan red meat

SPEAKERS

Condoleezza Rice

She brings foreign policy cred, a link to the Bush era, and perhaps a green jacket?

Marco Rubio

Overlooked for VP, the Florida senator gets a prime-time spot and will be expected to reach out to Latino voters

Ted Cruz

The Texas Tea Party insurgent who’s NOT Ron Paul

JEB BUSH

Popular ex-Florida governor is the convention’s official prom king

RICK SANTORUM

The most reputable cast member of last winter’s GOP reality show/primary season

RAND PAUL

The other Tea Party insurgent who’s NOT Ron Paul

SCOTT WALKER

Wisconsin”s governor better hope the arena isn’t a union house

ARTUR DAVIS

Filling the customary ex-Democrat slot, this GOP convert seconded Obama’s ’08 nomination

The GOP’s female stars have some work to do to close Romney’s gender gap

NIKKI HALEY

Governor, South Carolina

KELLY AYOTTE

Senator, New Hampshire

SUSANA MARTINEZ

Governor, New Mexico

PENALTY BOX

Newt Gingrich

Call the eventual nominee a liar and you’re rewarded — with a gig at “Newt University,” a workshop for delegates

MICHELE BACHMANN

HERMAN CAIN

The former rivals co-host “Unity Rally 2012” at a megachurch six miles from the arena

CHARLOTTE

Time Warner Cable Arena capacity: 20,000 Bank of America Stadium capacity: 75,000

KEYNOTE: JULIAN CASTRO

Who? San Antonio’s 37-year-old mayor goes from obscurity to the big stage. Kind of like 2004’s keynoter. Remember him?

SPEAKERS

Michelle Obama

Popular first lady is the convention’s unofficial prom queen

Elizabeth Warren

The Massachusetts Senate candidate and scourge of Wall Street might mention something about bank reform

Will testify to the agonies of life under Governor Romney

Celeb spotting!

EVA LONGORIA

Desperate Housewives star

DEVAL PATRICK

Governor, Massachusetts

RAHM EMANUEL

Obama loyalist turned Chicago boss still offers best chance for an FCC fine

JOHN KERRY

Senator, Massachusetts

KAMALA HARRIS

California’s attorney general has also targeted bankers. Theme alert?

MARTIN O’MALLEY

Maryland governor who is totally not measuring the dais for 2016

Might owe their slots to Akin

NANCY KEENAN

President of Naral Pro-Choice America

SANDRA FLUKE

Georgetown University student

BILL CLINTON

JIMMY CARTER

The legends make an encore. Bush 41 and 43 will be watching from home

PENALTY BOX

Cory Booker

Calling the president’s attacks on private equity “nauseating” does not get you into prime time

NETWORK PROGRAMING

All times EST

ABC, CBS: 10-11 p.m., 8/28-30, 9/4-6

NBC: 10-11 p.m., 8/28-30, 9/4; 9-11 p.m., 9/6

PBS: 8-11 p.m., daily

CNN: 5-9 a.m., 2 p.m.-1 a.m., daily

Fox News: 6-11 a.m., 1 p.m.-1 a.m., daily

MSNBC: 5:30 a.m.-1 a.m., daily

COUNTERPROGRAMING

8/27

7:30 PM EST

(HBO)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Veep

8/28

8 P.M. EST

(AMC)

Pretty Woman, in case you missed the previous night’s rerun

8/29

8 P.M. EST

(HISTORY CHANNEL)

A motorized wheelchair shows up on Cajun Pawn Stars. Sold!

8/30

8 P.M. EST

(GAME SHOW NETWORK)

The American Bible Challenge

9/4

8 P.M. EST

(COMEDY CENTRAL)

Tosh.0 repeats never go stale

9/5

8:30 P.M. EST

(NBC)

Score! Giants vs. the Cowboys in the NFL season opener

9/6

8 P.M. EST

(MTV)

Whose sound will be bigger? The Video Music Awards or Obama’s?

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