Amid a torrent of criticism over the narrow rules governing which candidates can participate in the first 2016 Republican debate, Fox News has decided to add a “Candidate Forum” to the lineup which will air earlier in the day on August 6. The forum will feature candidates who did not make the cut of being in the top ten candidates in five national polls for the main debate broadcast in the evening.

Report from Mediaite:

Ever since Fox News announced the parameters for its August 6th Republican primary debate, a lot of the candidates not exactly polling in the top 10 have been asked for their opinions on the format and whether it’s fair. And, well, some of them aren’t crazy about it.

So tonight, Fox announced in a press release that on August 6th, hours before the debate kicks off, America’s Newsroom anchors Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum will host what the network is calling a candidate forum in which candidates outside the top 10 polling will be allowed to participate. The biggest criteria is that any participating candidates must be polling at one percent or higher.

Fox executive Michael Clemente said, “As we noted when we first announced the debate criteria, our intention has always been to provide coverage to the wide field of Republican candidates and we are glad to present these details today.”

The candidate forum will air live on Fox from 5-7 pm, and the debate will air that night from 9-11 pm.

So the schedule for Thursday, August 6, will be as follows: (all times Eastern)

5pm to 7pm – Candidate Forum (second tier)
9pm to 11pm – Primetime debate (top tier)

This will not satisfy everyone, but I think it will be the best we get in terms of giving an audience to more candidates. The main issue will be the viewership since far more people will watch at 9pm as opposed to 5 o’clock in the afternoon on a Thursday.