As our partner site noted yesterday, CNBC has been in ongoing contentious discussions this week with Republican campaigns concerned over changes to the debate format for the event coming up on October 28. The topic of whether candidates will get opening and closing statements is still under discussion, however, CNBC has acquiesced to demands from the Trump and Carson campaigns asking for a limit of two hours for this debate.
Report from CNN:
CNBC has agreed to limit its Republican primary debate later this month to two hours, acquiescing to the demands of Donald Trump and other GOP campaigns, CNN has confirmed.
A source with knowledge of the decision said the Republican National Committee was putting in calls to the campaigns on Friday morning to inform them of the new format, which will cap the debate to two hours, including commercials.
Early Friday morning, Trump tweeted that CNBC had agreed to limit the Oct. 28 debate to two hours.
“Fantastic news for all, especially the millions of people who will be watching!” he wrote.
CNBC declined to comment.
The move comes after Trump and Ben Carson threatened to pull out of the faceoff in Boulder, Colorado, if the hosts didn’t agree to their demands.
In a letter to CNBC, the two candidates said they would not participate “if it is longer than 120 minutes, including commercials, and does not include opening and closing statements.”
In regard to the issue of the opening and closing statements, RNC spokesperson Sean Spicer told CNN, “We are having an ongoing conversation with CNBC and the candidates.”
CNBC was considering a three hour broadcast, similar to the last CNN debate, as a way to sell three hours worth of advertising. These debates, especially with upwards of 20+ million viewers, are huge business for these cable channels so they are looking to cash in.
There was no way CNBC was going to hold a debate without Trump, they want the ratings and interest he draws. I think most viewers will also agree that three hours is a bit long, even with such a large number of people on stage. The CNBC debate on October 28 may see only nine candidates on stage depending on how Rand Paul’s poll numbers shake out between now and then.