David Bohrman, who brought the ‘Magic Wall’ to CNN, dies at 69

By Michael P. Hill Article may include affiliate links

The CNN executive who introduced the world to the network’s “Magic Wall” interactive touchscreen has died at 69.

Former producer and exec David Bohrman died June 25, 2023, due to complications from hip surgery, his family to the network.

“David was a CNN institution, a leader and innovator who mentored many through decades in television news,” CNN said in a statement.

He first signed on with CNN in 1998 and would eventually become a SVP and the network’s Washington bureau chief. He also worked for ABC, CBS, NBC and Current TV.

At ABC, he helped create “World News Now,” the network’s irreverent overnight news program.

He is credited was putting CNN anchors on the floor of party conventions in 2004. In 2008, he followed up by introducing the “Magic Wall,” an interactive touchscreen fed with realtime election data.

At the time, the screen was one the larger models available — though it notably wasn’t anywhere close to the size of what most people would consider a “wall.”

That concept has since become a mainstay of election coverage on almost every major network — including ones around the globe.

The screens themselves have progressively gotten larger and more advanced, including scaling up to the size of actual walls, though many are still larger model video panels outfitted with touchscreen technology and mounted to the wall or movable set pieces.

Other networks have given their own nicknames and branding to the technology, including names such as “The Big Board.” Journalists including MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki have become known for their use of these tools.

CNN anchor John King was one of the first to use his network’s implementation of the technology and remained a fixture at the wall for many election cycles to come.

Bohrman is survived by his wife Catherine, two children and two grandchildren.