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NBC Scores First 2020 Debate, Will Air on Back-to-Back Nights in Prime Time This June

The 2020 Democratic Presidential debates figure to be TV ratings bonanzas. On Thursday, the DNC announced which network will be the first beneficiary.

As we first reported in our daily newsletter Live From the Green Room, NBC News has scored the first debate. MSNBC’s Ali Velshi reported the news at the conclusion of his show Thursday, in a clip which can be seen above. The debates will air on NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo on dates soon to be announced.

That’s right — dates, plural. The first debate will air on back-to-back nights in primetime. The field will be capped at 20, with no more than 10 candidates on the stage for each session.

There will be no “junior varsity” debate this time around, as there was during the 2016 Republican primary — in which candidates which trailed in the polls were relegated to earlier debates in front of smaller audiences.

In order to qualify, candidates need at least one percent in three major polls, or they need to have received campaign donations from at least 65,000 people.

Along with NBC’s unprecedented multi-night prime time commitment, Telemundo’s participation in the debate is also historic. It will mark the first time ever a Hispanic network airs the first Democratic primary. Telemundo will translate the remarks from the candidates to Spanish in real-time for their audience.

CNN also came out a winner Thursday. The DNC awarded the cabler the second Democratic debate, which will take place in July. Similar criteria and format will be employed.

As mentioned above, we first reported on this news in our daily email newsletter, Live From the Green Room. For more exclusive content, sign up for Live From the Green Room here.

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Joe DePaolo is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @joe_depaolo