The first 2016 presidential debate is here. The event, which airs on Monday, September 26th, will run for 90 minutes beginning at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time. But is that going to be 90 minutes of actual debating? Or will there be breaks and/or commercial interruptions?
Luckily (or unluckily, depending on your perspective) for viewers, the presidential debate is presented without any breaks for advertising, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates. It will run for a completely uninterrupted hour-and-a-half, and possibly even longer than that if the candidates go over their allotted time.
Those 90 minutes will be broken up into six segments, each lasting approximately 15 minutes. The Commission on Presidential Debates notes, however, that the moderator is within his right to extend segments so that both of the candidates has equal speaking time. In this case, the debate moderator is NBC Nightly News host Lester Holt.
Each 15 minute segment will open with a question from Lester Holt, with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton having two minutes to respond. From there, the candidates can respond to one another, and the rest of the time will be spent delving a bit further into the topic. The topics for Monday’s debate are “America’s Direction,” “Achieving Prosperity,” and “Securing America,” according to Politico.
Ad buyers only wish they could purchase commercials during the debate, as somewhere between 80 and 100 million viewers are expected to tune in, a significant increase from the first presidential debate of 2012. It is such a massive event that even the commercials before and after the debate are going for large sums of money, with these 30-second spots costing between $200,000 and $250,000, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“The fact that we’re selling out debates is unique in a marketplace where TV ratings are dramatically down over the last four years,” one TV ad buyer told The Wall Street Journal. “The fact that these [ratings estimates] are actually up is a sign of the strength of this election.”
The first presidential debate is being broadcast live from Hofstra University on Long Island. Those wanting to watch it have plenty of options, as it will be airing on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NBC, ABC, Fox and C-SPAN. And if you won’t be near a computer, the event will also be streamed live for the first time on Facebook.