NBC News will deploy some of its best known anchors to moderate coverage of the first debate among candidates for the Democratic nomination for president, and air the event for two hours across not only MSNBC, but on its Telemundo and NBC broadcast networks, underscoring the intent interest in the run-up to the 2020 race for the White House.
Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie, Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow and José Díaz-Balart will moderate the two-hour, back-to-back prime time live events from the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, Florida on June 26 and June 27.
NBC said Holt will moderate the first hour, with Guthrie and Diaz-Balart appearing alongside him. He will also appear in the second hour, with Todd and Maddow moderating.
Twenty candidates will take part over the course of two evenings, with ten appearing on stage each night.
To qualify, candidates need to register 1% support in three qualified polls, or have 65,000 unique donors to their campaign, with a minimum of 200 different donors in at least 20 states. If the field widens beyond 20 candidates, the Democratic National Committee expects to use a series of tiebreakers to determine who makes the cut.
All the nation’s news outlets are prepared for a surge of viewer absorption in the election. CBS News NBC News and ABC News have suggested they intend to have more reporters on the ground in various parts of the U.S. to better gauge sentiment for every candidate. “We may have more journalists deployed in the field than at any other time in this news organization,” said Noah Oppenheim, president of NBC News, speaking at a “Future of News” conference organized by the Financial Times.
Most early debates tend to air on cable, not on broadcast networks. But the field of Democratic candidates is so wide and interest in the election believed to be so high that NBC has decided to make the event available across multiple outlets, and not just MSNBC, which aims at news aficionados and, in primetime at least, progressive minded viewers.