FBN Debate Memo: We Won’t Show an Empty Lectern

By Mark Joyella 

After an awkward moment at the recent ABC News Democratic presidential debate, Fox Business Network has made its policy clear: no empty lecterns.

Politico reports FBN has sent a memo to campaigns ahead of the network’s Jan. 14 Republican debate. In it, Fox Business promises not to show an empty lectern as long as “the candidates to consider and follow Fox’s guidance when leaving and returning to their podiums during commercial breaks. Bathrooms will be located back stage.”

Questions were raised about ABC’s decision to show an empty lectern–and point it out to viewers–when Hillary Clinton was late returning to the stage after a commercial break. Many agreements between networks and campaigns include provisions not to reference bathroom breaks on air, or show that a candidate has not yet returned.


Earlier Tuesday, the network announced Maria Bartiromo and Neil Cavuto would return as moderators.