The final debate of the 2020 presidential election cycle takes place tonight in Nashville, with the second nationally televised meeting between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden set to begin at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT at Belmont University.
NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker will moderate the debate, which will be simulcast on a total of 16 broadcast and cable networks and available on multiple streaming services and digital platforms. You can also watch the livestream on Deadline (courtesy PBS NewsTime) here:
Like the September 28 first debate in Cleveland — which drew 73.1 million network viewers, the third-highest total ever — tonight’s debate will run for 90 minutes without commercial interruption, with the topic (chosen by Welker) over six 15-minute segments to include the fight against COVID-19, American families, race in America, climate change, national security and leadership.
The Commission on Presidential Debates, which organizes the debates, changed some of its rules for tonight after an unruly first meeting between the political rivals. More specifically, the candidate who does not answer the question posed during the allotted two-minute period will have his microphone cut off. Microphones will not be muted in subsequent open chat sessions.
Another last minute change: the plexiglass barriers that previously separated the candidates were removed from the stage today, and will not be used tonight.
There was supposed to be a debate between the candidates on Oct. 15, a town hall-style event, but that was canceled after the commission opted for a virtual debate following Trump’s positive diagnosis of COVID-19. Trump rejected virtual format; eventually, the two candidates did separate town halls that night on national television.
If tonight’s event goes as planned, it will be the first time since 1996 (President Bill Clinton vs. Bob Dole) that there have only been two general election debates.
Here’s a look at some of the networks’ plans tonight:
ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos will lead the coverage from New York, joined by world news tonight anchor David Muir and ABC News Live Prime Anchor Linsey Davis reports on the latest developments. Coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET with Trump vs. Biden: The Final Presidential Debate – A Special 20/20 Edition. ABC News Live will begin coverage at 7 p.m. ET led by Davis and will simultaneously stream ABC coverage and the debate to viewers. ABC News Radio will have three hours of anchored coverage led by Aaron Katersky, and affiliate news service ABC NewsOne will also provide coverage.
CBS News live, primetime coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET led by CBS Evening News anchor and editor Norah O’Donnell of Washington, joined by Gayle King and John Dickerson. CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Maj. Garrett will offer fact checks as part of the post-debate coverage, with analysis by Reince Priebus and Valerie Jarrett. CBSN, CBS News’ 24/7 all-news service, begins coverage at 5 p.m. ET. Elaine Quijano will anchor the cover.
Erin Burnett and Anderson Cooper kick off pre-debate coverage at 7 p.m. ET. At 8, Cooper will be joined by Wolf Blitzer, Jake Tapper, Dana Bash and Abby Phillip, who will also lead post-debate coverage. Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon take over from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. ET. CNN’s Gloria Borger, Nia Malika Henderson, Jeff Zeleny and Mark Preston will serve as analysts, and commentators will include David Axelrod, Van Jones, Kirsten Powers, Rick Santorum, Michael Smerconish, Andrew Yang and Scott Jennings. The debate itself will be streamed for free on CNN.com and its apps and via CNNgo.
C-SPAN will provide coverage beginning at 9 p.m. ET on C-SPAN, C-SPAN Radio and C-SPAN.org, with phones to be opened after the debate for viewer calls and reactions.
Fox News/Fox Business
Fox News Channel coverage will be available on all Fox News Media platforms, including Fox Business Network, Fox News Audio, Fox News International, Fox Nation and Fox News Digital. Special reportis Bret Baier and The storyMartha MacCallum of will co-host live coverage inside the Debate Room beginning at 9 p.m. ET, later joined by Chris Wallace, Brit Hume, Dana Perino and Juan Williams. FNC contributors Donna Brazile, Karl Rove and Katie Pavlich will also offer analysis. Fox Business Network’s Neil Cavuto will host live coverage beginning at 8 p.m. with Fox Business Network Presents Democracy 2020: The Presidential Debate with analysis before and after the debate, as well as live coverage of the debate itself.
NBC News coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. ET with NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt and Today co-anchor and NBC News Chief Legal Correspondent Savannah Guthrie anchored from New York and Meet the Press’ Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell anchored from Washington, D.C. On MSNBC, his coverage Decision 2020 begins at 8 p.m. ET with Rachel Maddow, Nicolle Wallace and Joy Reid before the debate, and joined by Brian Williams after the debate. Ari Melber continues special coverage at 12:30 a.m. ET. NBC News Now will provide free coverage of the debate featuring Todd and Kasie Hunt starting at 7:30 p.m. ET, followed by special network coverage at 8:30 p.m. The streaming service is available live and on demand on Peacock . Viewers can also stream the debate live on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
PBS NewsTime will air live coverage from 9-11 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide, hosted by Managing Editor Judy Woodruff and contributions from Senior National Correspondent Amna Nawaz, White House Correspondent Yamiche Alcindor , Capitol Hill correspondent Lisa Desjardins and Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report, among others. Nawaz will engage with a panel of voters to discuss their impressions of each debate.
Other digital outlets include full of news, which begins coverage at 9 p.m. ET with the streaming service on Roku, FireTV, Vizio, Apple TV, and Pluto TV. Hulu + Live TV, Fubo TV and TV Sling offer free trials to new users.