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2020 Democratic National Convention: 'Virtually' everything you need to know

Who's speaking? What's the message? Is anyone going to Milwaukee? It all starts Monday.
Image: DNC Announces That Convention Will Not Include Biden, Live Speakers Due To COVID-19
The Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee, which will serve as the production "hub" for next week's Democratic National Convention. Stacy Revere / Getty Images

The Democratic National Convention is set to kick off next week — and thanks to coronavirus precautions, it will look much different than the traditional quadrennial four-day presidential nominating event.

The large crowds of political boosters originally planned to swarm into swing state Wisconsin aren't coming, and even the presumptive Democratic nominee won't be in Milwaukee — Joe Biden will accept the nomination virtually.

Here's everything we know about the event so far:

When and where is the DNC?

Originally set for the week of July 13 but delayed because of the pandemic, the DNC kicks off on Monday. The main events will be the two hours of prime-time programming for each of the four nights from 9-11 p.m. ET.

Few of the proceedings will actually take place in Milwaukee. Originally scheduled for the 17,000-seat Fiserv Forum, the convention was moved to the Wisconsin Center, which has a 4,500-seat theater and a 12,000-seat arena, because of coronavirus concerns. The venue will be the production "hub" of the convention.

Delegates were asked in June not to attend in person, and organizers announced last week that no out-of-town speakers will travel to Milwaukee. They'll deliver their addresses virtually from sites around the country, but the event "still highlights the great city of Milwaukee," DNC chair Tom Perez told Chris MSNBC's Chris Jansing last week. Joe Solmonese, the convention's chief executive officer, said it will "be a convention across America for all Americans."

What's happening each night?

Organizers have announced broad themes: Monday is "We the People," Tuesday is "Leadership Matters," Wednesday is "A More Perfect Union" and Thursday's finale is "America's Promise."

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The convention website says that on each of the first three nights "our party will come together to unite the country around our shared values and launch Joe Biden to victory this fall," and that on the fourth night Biden will accept the Democratic nomination.

If past conventions are any indication, Wednesday will likely focus on the vice presidential nominee. Biden will speak to close out the event from a yet-to-be-disclosed location in Delaware on Thursday.

Who will be speaking?

Monday: Michelle Obama; Bernie Sanders; Gretchen Whitmer; Andrew Cuomo; Jim Clyburn; John Kasich; Catherine Cortez-Masto; Amy Klobuchar; Bennie Thompson; Doug Jones and Gwen Moore.

Tuesday: Jill Biden; Bill Clinton; John Kerry; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; Chuck Schumer; Sally Yates and Lisa Blunt-Rochester.

Wednesday: Nancy Pelosi; Hillary Clinton; Elizabeth Warren; Tony Evers; Michelle Lujan Grisham; Gabby Giffords; Barack Obama and whoever Biden chooses as his running mate.

Thursday: Joe Biden; the Biden Family; Cory Booker; Gavin Newsom; Keisha Lance Bottoms; Tammy Baldwin; Tammy Duckworth; Chris Coons and Kamala Harris.

The speaking lineups are still subject to additions and other changes.

Democrats say their convention will also foreground everyday Americans to an unusual degree, giving prime speaking time to small-business owners, teachers, factory workers and others to speak about their struggles during the Trump-era and coronavirus pandemic.

How to watch?

NBC News will air a special report from 10 to 11 p.m. ET each night of the convention, anchored by Lester Holt and Savannah Guthrie in New York with Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell in Washington, D.C. MSNBC will have convention coverage from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. each night, beginning with Joy Reid at 7 p.m. and Chris Hayes at 8 p.m. Special coverage begins at 9 p.m. with Rachel Maddow, Nicolle Wallace and Reid at 9 p.m., joined by Brian Williams who picks up coverage at 11 p.m. and Ari Melber at 1 a.m.

NBC News Now will live stream the convention each day, and have special coverage anchored by Todd each night at 8 p.m. will have a live blog feature breaking news, analysis and fact checks.