Posted: 8:33 pm Monday, January 18th, 2016
By Jamie Dupree
A day after NBC drew over 10 million viewers for a debate among Democrats running for President, the Republican National Committee officially stripped NBC of its role in hosting a GOP debate planned for late February in Texas, awarding that debate instead to CNN.
The move was seen as retaliation for the performance of debate moderators at CNBC, who were ridiculed by the GOP candidates for their work at a debate in Boulder, Colorado in late October.
“The Republican National Committee has decided to move forward without NBC’s participation in the February debate in Houston, Texas,” said RNC Chair Reince Priebus in a statement.
“This was the right move by the RNC,” said Media Research Center President Brent Bozell, who said “it makes no sense to continue to allow committed left-wingers in the media to decide the nominee of the Republican Party.”
The debate originally had been scheduled for Friday February 26, but now with CNN as the main sponsor, it will be moved up to Thursday February 25 in Houston.
That would be the final debate before the “Super Tuesday” of 2016, also known as the SEC Primary, which includes Texas and a series of southern states.
Democrats get decent numbers for Sunday debate
The news that NBC had lost its debate sponsorship came a few hours after the release of initial viewership numbers from the Democratic debate on Sunday, as the network was able to reach over 10 million viewers.
That was short of the 15.3 million viewers for the first Democratic debate – which was held on a Tuesday – but well above the pedestrian numbers for a pair of Saturday night debates in November and December.
The next GOP debate is Thursday, January 28 in Des Moines, Iowa. That will be followed by a Saturday night Republican debate in New Hampshire on February 6.
The next Democratic debate will be hosted by PBS, on Thursday February 11, two days after the New Hampshire Primary. That will be located in Milwaukee. Wisconsin does not hold its primary until early April.