World

Republicans punish NBC, move debate to CNN

New York: The Republican National Committee has made good on its promise to cut NBC out of its primary debate schedule.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus announced late on Monday the cancellation of a partnership with NBC, which was set to carry a primary debate from Houston on February 26. The event will now be staged one night earlier by CNN.

Not on CNBC again: 2016 presidential candidates Jeb Bush, Senator Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, and Ben Carson during the ...
Not on CNBC again: 2016 presidential candidates Jeb Bush, Senator Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, and Ben Carson during the October debate. Photo: Matthew Staver

The committee was intent on punishing NBC over what it perceived as harsh treatment from the panel of CNBC moderators at the October 28 Republican primary debate shown on the cable network.

CNBC is owned by NBCUniversal but operates separately from NBC News.

NBC News declined comment on Monday.

The cancellation is a revenue hit for NBC News, as the Republican primary debates have scored massive ratings – thanks in large part to the attention for front-runner Donald Trump – generating 30-second ad prices in the low six figures. CNN's first Republican debate scored 23 million viewers on September 16 and 18 million on December 15.

But the GOP ratings juggernaut shows signs of slowing. The January 14 debate on the Fox Business Network averaged 11 million viewers, down from the 13.5 million the candidates delivered for the channel on November 10. It was the smallest audience yet for the Republicans.

The next Republican primary debate is scheduled for January 28 on Fox News Channel, which pulled 24 million viewers with the candidates back on August 6.

TNS