You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

GOP Debate: What to Watch for on Fox News Tonight

Just hours after the latest Republican debate ends on Fox News, Netflix will be posting the entire fourth season of “House of Cards.”

As Variety‘s Brian Lowry pointed out in his review, real-life presidential politics have caught up with “House of Cards,” giving the drama “a run for its money in sheer outlandishness.”

The last few days have been a binge-watch of the escalating civil war within the GOP, particularly on Thursday, as 2012 nominee Mitt Romney delivered a scathing takedown of very possible nominee Donald Trump.

That was followed by a response from Trump, who boasted that in the last cycle Romney was “begging” for his endorsement. “I could’ve said, ‘Mitt, drop to your knees,’ and he would have dropped to his knees,” he said, in a line ready-made for retweeting.

Tonight’s debate in Detroit could mark a turning point in the effort to stop, slow or just stymie Trump’s march to the nomination. Or it could shed light on how Trump has outmaneuvered them all in his race for the White House and, like Frank Underwood, has yet to meet his political match.

Here are some key moments to watch for:

Megyn Kelly and Trump, the Next Chapter. This will be the first time that Trump will face Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, with whom he sparred at the very first GOP debate in August. It started when Kelly questioned him about his past comments about women, and Trump complained that her line of query was unfair. But that was only the start. Over the next six months, Trump erupted into grievance tweets about Kelly, culminating in his decision to skip a Fox News debate in Des Moines after the network refused to remove her as co-moderator. Trump went on to lose the Des Moines caucuses, and there has been little drama surrounding his appearance at this gathering. There’s every reason for Trump not to get into a tiff with Kelly, or for Kelly to avoid one. But what’s to stop rivals, determined to throw everything at the GOP front-runner to see if anything sticks, from dredging up Trump’s comments about the Fox News star?

Trump, presidential. As he racked up victories on Super Tuesday, Trump appeared before a row of American flags at his Mar-a-Lago estate and held a press conference. It wasn’t as stately as something that would happen in the East Room, but it was perhaps a preview that Trump would be a tad more subdued as a general election candidate. What tone will Trump take on Thursday? He’ll be the target of attacks from rivals, perhaps in a way we have yet to see, but he also will be appearing before what is expected to be a huge audience.

The audience. The most recent debates have seen a more active debate audience cheering and booing pretty much when they want. Trump has criticized the composition of the crowd as stacked against him, and that could be a factor again as the anti-Trump rhetoric has been amplified. Controlling the crowd may turn out to be just as important as controlling the candidates.

Mitt Romney. Given the coverage that Romney got for his blistering speech on Thursday, it’s difficult to see how it won’t get some mention. His father was the former governor of Michigan, and when Romney won the state in the GOP primary in 2012, it was a crucial victory. So it will be interesting to see if Trump, on the debate stage, gives any response to Romney in quite the same biting and ribald way that he did earlier on Thursday. It seems likely that Trump, as he has before, will not so much respond to Romney as he will dismiss him as a “failed candidate.” It actually may have new urgency with reports that Romney is plotting to take a significant role at the convention.

Rubio vs. Cruz. If Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz  tone down their attacks on each other, it’d give credence to reports that the stop-Trump effort has shifted to merely denying Trump a majority of delegates before the convention in July. In other words, as Bloomberg Politics reported, it’s actually a good thing for Rubio, Cruz and John Kasich to stay in the race and rack up wins in their own strongholds, rather than coalesce around one rival. Romney pretty much said that in his speech today.

More Biz

  • Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein (L)

    Weinstein Attorney: 'Many of These Women Have Lied'

    Harvey Weinstein’s attorney blasted the Manhattan D.A.’s office on Wednesday, arguing that prosecutors brought a flawed case in haste due to public pressure. Ben Brafman sent a letter to Judge James Burke, who is scheduled to hear a motion to dismiss the case next week. In it, he responded to Assistant D.A. Kevin Wilson, who [...]

  • 2019 Variety Predictions

    2019 Predictions: What's in Store for Film, TV and Music Next Year?

    It would be hard to top the drama of 2018. From media mega-mergers to the rise of Time’s Up, it was a year that had more than its fair share of twists and turns. Leslie Moonves resigned in disgrace, AT&T snapped up Time Warner, Disney inched closer to subsuming Fox and “Black Panther” shattered box [...]

  • Tencent Music Raises $1.1 Billion for

    Tencent Music Raises $1.1 Billion for IPO, Much Less Than Expected

    China-based music streaming company Tencent Music Entertainment Group said it raised nearly $1.1 billion in its U.S. initial public offering, according to Reuters. Earlier this year, the company was expected to be valued at as much as $30 billion and raise $4 billion for its IPO, but those estimates were slashed in September. he IPO [...]

  • Justin Tranter and Katie Vinten Partner

    Justin Tranter and Katie Vinten Partner With Warner Bros. for New Label

    As previously reported, hit songwriter Justin Tranter and Warner/Chappell Publishing’s Katie Vinten are launching a new label in partnership with Warner Bros. Records, the company announced officially today. In her new role, Vinten, most recently the company’s co-head of A&R, will also serve as an A&R Consultant to Warner Bros. Records and will continue with [...]

  • Ella Mai

    Ella Mai Signs Worldwide Deal With Sony/ATV Music Publishing

    Singer Ella Mai, who is enjoying a worldwide smash with her song “Boo’d Up” and was nominated for two Grammy Awards last week, has signed a worldwide deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing. The song peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has been streamed more than 650 million times in the U.S. [...]

  • European Union Competition Commissioner Margrethe VestagerSlush

    Liberty Global, Vodafone's $22 Billion Cable Deal Under Investigation by EU

    The European Commission has started an in-depth probe into Vodafone’s proposed acquisition of a raft of Liberty Global assets in Europe. The commission cited concerns that the deal could reduce competition in Germany and the Czech Republic. “It’s important that all EU consumers have access to affordable and good quality telephone and TV services,” Commissioner [...]

  • Kirk Kerkorian

    Kirk Kerkorian's Estate Settles With Widow for $12.5 Million

    The estate of late media mogul Kirk Kerkorian has a reached a settlement with his widow, who claimed she was entitled to a third of his $1.8 billion fortune. Una Davis will receive just $12.5 million under the deal, which is set for court approval on Wednesday. Davis married the mogul in March 2014, becoming [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content