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The Grio, One America News join growing list of CNN debate broadcasters

Composite photo of Donald Trump, Joe Biden
Former President Donald Trump (left) and President Joe Biden. (Photos by Gage Skidmore)

Two more broadcasters have joined a growing list of news outlets and television networks that will simulcast CNN’s presidential debate on Thursday.

The Grio, a television and digital media platform owned by Allen Media Group, has agreed to distribute the CNN Presidential Debate, a spokesperson for the Byron Allen-owned company confirmed on Monday.

The Grio’s coverage of the CNN Presidential Debate will start at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time with the network’s own pre-debate coverage called “Black America Must Vote: Special Coverage of the CNN Presidential Debate.”

“Through our pre-show and post-show coverage of the presidential debate, The Grio will provide comprehensive analysis to ensure that viewers gain a deeper understanding of the political landscape and the stakes involved for America,” Allen said in a statement. “We hope that viewers will join The Grio for this crucial broadcast that navigates the complexities of the presidential debate and its impact on America.”

The debate on Thursday will be the first time in more than 30 years that a broadcast network has produced its own presidential debate. Historically, the debates were organized and produced by the non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), with video feeds available to all broadcasters who wished to air the event.

In keeping with that spirit, CNN has offered its peer broadcasters the opportunity to simulcast the debate, although with a few conditions. Those conditions include a stipulation that broadcasters refer to the event as the “CNN Presidential Debate” and to not obscure the CNN logo that appears on air.

All four major broadcast networks — ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC — along with cable news channels MSNBC, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Newsmax and NewsNation have agreed to those terms and announced plans to carry the debate live. Most of the channels will produce their own pre- and post-debate coverage.

Several conservative-oriented news channels are also planning to stream the debate, including The First and One America News Network, according to TV listings and promotional campaigns reviewed by The Desk on Monday. It wasn’t clear if either channel will produce its own pre-debate and post-debate coverage, or if it will simply replace scheduled programming with the simulcast.

The CNN Presidential Debate starts at 9 p.m Eastern Time (6 p.m. Pacific Time). It will mark the first formal debate between former President Donald Trump, who is the presumed front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, and incumbent President Joe Biden.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.

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