The next Republican debate is coming up next Tuesday on December 15. The debate is airing on CNN and takes place at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. As of now, the criteria used by CNN for candidates to gain access to the primetime stage might deliver a lineup consisting of only seven candidates, with the rest appearing at the undercard debate earlier in the evening.

Report from the Columbus Dispatch:

We noted a couple of weeks ago that Ohio Gov. John Kasich appears a shoo-in to qualify for the main stage at the GOP presidential debate next week in Las Vegas.

But the interesting development taking shape is that Kasich might have to share the prime-time limelight with only six other candidates.

Easily qualifying because of their performance in national polls are businessman Donald Trump, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush also is clinging to a prime-time slot. Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are qualifying for the main event only because they have relatively healthy poll numbers in New Hampshire.

On the bubble is Carly Fiorina, who just barely makes the threshold with her New Hampshire poll results. Her super-PAC will soon air ads to keep her from slipping back among five others confined to the undercard — which she escaped after the first GOP debate only because CNN changed the rules.

Although his performance in the last debate was widely criticized, presumably such national exposure can only help a candidate like Kasich, who ranks low in national polls and was the least-well-known of the Republican hopefuls in last week’s Quinnipiac Poll.

Having only seven candidates in primetime would be a serious boon for the upstarts like Rubio and Cruz who are seeking more screen time as they sit back in second, third, or fourth place depending on the poll. Furthermore, it may be beneficial to someone like Christie who is currently riding a wave following his last performance.

Of course, it could be very beneficial to Donald Trump if he’s able to capture the speaking time and avoid too much direct incoming fire from the other candidates.

More debate details later this week when CNN announces the full lineup.