Report: TV Networks Battle For Republican Primary Debates

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Major news outlets are vying to host the 2024 Republican presidential primary debates, according to reporting by Axios.

CNN, NBC News and Fox News have all reportedly been pitching themselves to the Republican National Committee (RNC) in hopes of securing a primary debate, Axios reported Friday. Republicans, particularly Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, reportedly distrust CNN and MSNBC, while former President Trump’s relations with Fox News are strained due to the network’s coverage of DeSantis, per the outlet. (RELATED: ‘You Supported The Jab’: Trump Spars With Voter Who Blames Him For Deaths From COVID Vaccines)

CNN recently hosted a town hall with Trump that netted 3.3 million viewers, CNN’s highest single-candidate town hall since hosting presidential candidate Joe Biden in 2020, according to Axios. The outlet claims CNN has also reportedly told the RNC the network could reach more conservative voters than Fox, because the network would also air the debates on non-CNN Warner Bros. CNN boss Chris Licht even said the network would be willing to partner with a conservative-leaning outlet for the debate, Axios reported.

NBC News has pitched a debate to be hosted by Lester Holt alongside journalists from Telemundo and CNBC, according to Axios. Holt has, per the outlet, reportedly reached out the RNC himself to pitch the network. The network could face obstacles due to its reportedly strained relationship with DeSantis. The Florida governor, according to The Hill, claimed he would boycott NBC News and MSNBC after host Andrea Mitchell asked Vice President Kamala Harris an “imprecise” question that, according to DeSantis, implied that he opposed the teaching of slavery in Florida schools.

Fox News is reportedly looking to Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum to moderate their debate, which is slated to take place first, Axios reported. Trump has had a rocky relationship with Fox in recent years, according to reports. The former president was reportedly upset with Fox News in 2022 for ignoring him and focusing on other 2024 candidates, according to Business Insider. Trump did, however, appear on Fox News for a prerecorded town hall with Sean Hannity that aired Thursday.