The next Republican presidential primary debate will be hosted by NewsNation and feature former Fox News Channel host Megyn Kelly as moderator alongside NewsNation’s Elizabeth Vargas and Eliana Johnson of The Washington Free Beacon. The debate, to be held at The University of Alabama, will air December 6 at 8 p.m. ET, and will be broadcast on NewsNation and the CW Network.
“NewsNation’s mission is to provide fair and unbiased news coverage, and that’s the way we will approach this important debate,” said Michael Corn, president of news at NewsNation. “We take this responsibility very seriously and are proud to help inform and educate voters and to contribute to the democratic process.”
Kelly, who currently hosts a podcast on SiriusXM radio, last hosted a presidential primary debate in 2016 at the height of her popularity of Fox News, before deciding to leave for NBC, where her efforts in prime time and mornings failed. Kelly was one of the Fox moderators for the first Republican primary debate in 2016 featuring Donald Trump’s first appearance as a debater, which drew 24 million viewers—the highest-rated presidential primary debate on record.
“All of us at NewsNation are incredibly honored to be hosting a presidential primary debate and to be part of what will be another historic election season,” said Sean Compton, president of networks at Nexstar, NewsNation’s parent company. “We are also extremely pleased to have the opportunity to introduce more Americans to NewsNation, a 24-hour national news network committed to delivering outstanding journalism and first-rate political coverage and analysis.”
In October, NewsNation said it delivered its highest-rated week ever, with an average total audience of 67,000 viewers and 13,000 viewers in the key demographic of adults 25-54—representing an increase of 25% in total viewers and an increase of 12% in the key demo. NewsNation still trails behind its rivals, but has shown impressive year-over-year growth: up 28% in prime time and up 46% in the key demo.
By comparison, for the week of October 30, Fox News was the top-rated cable network, with a total day average rating of 1.281 million viewers, while MSNBC was second with 822,000 viewers and CNN was fifth (492,000 viewers). NewsNation was 61st overall, tied with the Weather Channel and The Cartoon Network, with an average audience of 72,000 viewers.