The Republican National Committee has established a debate schedule for the 2016 primary debates, which will begin later this summer. According to Politico the early debates will be on cable news while the later debates will go to the broadcast networks. Fox News will carry two, CNN will carry two, CNBC, FBN, CBS, ABC, and NBC/Telemundo will each carry one.
MSNBC has not been chosen for any debate. In the 2012 cycle, MSNBC carried a GOP debate on Sept. 7, 2011 at the Ronald Reagan Library and moderated by NBC’s Brian Williams. More than 5.4 million viewers tuned in to MSNBC that night. It also simulcast, with NBC, a debate on Jan. 8, 2012. The most-watched GOP primary debate in that cycle was on ABC on Dec. 10, 2011. It will be interesting to see if the DNC leaves any network out of the mix when they choose their dates and cities for primary debates. But in 2007-2008, the last time there were Democratic primary debates, Fox News did not get one. Here’s the 2015-2016 schedule:
1. Fox News, August 2015, Ohio
2. CNN, September 2015, California
3. CNBC, October 2015, Colorado
4. Fox Business, November 2015, Wisconsin
5. CNN, December 2015, Nevada
6. Fox News, January 2016, Iowa
7. ABC News, February 2016, New Hampshire
8. CBS News, February 2016, South Carolina
9. NBC/Telemundo, February 2016, Florida
This is actually a later start than the 2012 cycle, and represents about half as many sanctioned debates. Four years ago, Fox News carried the first debate back in May, 2011. As TVNewser reported at the time, 3.258 million viewers watched that debate.