2 Nights, 5 Moderators, 20 Candidates: Can NBC Pull it Off?

Outside of Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, where the first NBC Democratic presidential primary debates for the 2020 elections will take place. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Outside of Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, where the first NBC Democratic presidential primary debates for the 2020 elections will take place. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The networks, the candidates and the Democratic Party have a lot riding on the first debates of the 2020 primary process, beginning Wednesday.

NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo are hoping that months of planning will pay off when 10 Democratic presidential candidates take the stage Wednesday in Miami, followed by 10 more Thursday night.

The networks were awarded the first debate in the Democratic presidential primary process, a highly sought-after prize considering the intense news interest in the 2020 field and the potential for massive ratings. (CNN goes next month.)

“I can tell you with 100 percent confidence that it’s going well,” Rashida Jones, senior vp specials for NBC News and MSNBC, told The Hollywood Reporter recently of the planning process. “It’s a lot. We have a lot of candidates. It’s a lot of content. There’s a lot of issues.”

No one knows exactly what the five moderators — Savannah Guthrie, Lester Holt, Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow and Jose Diaz-Balart — will ask, not even the presidential campaigns.

“We were given no sense of the topics,” said Jamal Raad, communications director for Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s campaign. “There are segments, but there’s no clear sense that these segments will be topic-focused.”

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SOURCE: Jeremy Barr
The Hollywood Reporter