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CNN Presidential Debate to simulcast on broadcast networks, NewsNation

Bloomberg, Newsmax, Fox News, MSNBC and Telemundo will also carry the debate on Thursday.

Bloomberg, Newsmax, Fox News, MSNBC and Telemundo will also carry the debate on Thursday.

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

When President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump take the debate stage next week, they will participate in a moment of television history.

The debate next Thursday will mark the first time in more than 30 years that a single television network — in this case, CNN — has produced an election year debate involving the leading candidates for president on its own.

But viewers won’t have to watch the debate on CNN, or even need a cable subscription to view it. In keeping with the spirit of past presidential debates, CNN has agreed to offer a live feed of the event that other broadcasters and news outlets may use to carry the debate live on their channels.

Many have taken CNN up on the offer, despite numerous conditions, including one that requires networks simulcasting the debate to refer to it as the “CNN Presidential Debate” and ensure the CNN on-screen logo is not obstructed.

On Thursday, Fox News Media signaled its willingness to adhere to those conditions in an announcement that said the network will offer a simulcast of the CNN Presidential Debate next week. Fox will carry the simulcast live across its two cable networks — Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network — as well as via a live stream on Fox Nation and the Fox News website. Fox’s broadcast network will also offer the debate to affiliates.

CNN’s other cable news competitors, MSNBC and NewsNation, will also offer a simulcast of the debate, representatives from those channels affirmed this week. Like Fox, NewsNation will produce its own pre-debate and post-debate coverage. MSNBC is expected to do the same. Newsmax, which typically places fourth in the cable news ratings, will also carry the debate live.

C-SPAN will carry a simulcast of the CNN Presidential Debate on its channel C-SPAN 2, with additional coverage available on C-SPAN Radio. Access to C-SPAN’s live streams require a cable or satellite subscription and associated password. Only DirecTV Stream offers online access to C-SPAN’s live channels.

Those without cable or satellite also have a number of ways to watch the CNN Presidential Debate. The debate will be simulcast by Bloomberg Television, Scripps News and The First, which offer their channels across a number of free streaming platforms like Pluto TV, Xumo Play, Samsung TV Plus and LG Channels.

On broadcast television, four of the five major networks — ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox — will carry the CNN Presidential Debate live, representatives from all four networks confirmed. ABC’s coverage of the debate will also stream on Hulu and via its ABC News Live channel, while CBS will stream the debate through its own CBS News 24×7 channel on Paramount Plus and Pluto TV. NBC will offer a Spanish translation of the CNN Presidential Debate on Telemundo. The CW Network will air entertainment programming as scheduled.

PBS member stations will also have an opportunity to air the CNN Presidential Debate live, with PBS NewsHour producing its own pre-debate and post-debate coverage. Many PBS member stations stream for free through the PBS and Local Now apps.

Here is a full list of broadcast, cable and streaming networks that will offer a simulcast of the CNN Presidential Debate on next Thursday, which will be updated as more networks are announced:

  • ABC (also ABC News Live and Hulu)
  • Bloomberg Television
  • CBS (also CBS News 24/7)
  • CNN (also CNN International)
  • C-SPAN 2
  • The First
  • Fox
  • Fox Business Network
  • Fox Nation (streaming)
  • Fox News Channel
  • HLN
  • MSNBC
  • NBC
  • Newsmax
  • NewsNation
  • PBS (most member stations)
  • Scripps News
  • Telemundo
  • Univision

The CNN Presidential Debate airs on Thursday, June 27 at 9 p.m. Eastern Time.

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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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