- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Consider it wall-to-wall: Fox News offers eight hours of live coverage for the opening Republican debate beginning at 5 p.m. on Thursday, and ending at 1 a.m., in the wee hours of the morning. Ten major news anchors and primetime hosts are involved, reporting from the debate site in Cleveland, New York City and the nation’s capital.

Formally titled the “FOX News Facebook Debate Event Night,” the programming get underway with a debate for the GOP also-rans at 5 p.m. moderated by America’s Newsroom co-hosts Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum. Live coverage continues with Special Report with Bret Baier at 6 p.m. followed by On The Record with Greta Van Susteren an hour later, and The O’Reilly Factor at 8 p.m.

The primetime debate begin precisely at 8:50 p.m. ET with anchors Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace co-moderating the event that has been buzzed abut and argued over for weeks. The Kelly File airs at 11 p.m. immediately afterwards, followed by Hannity at midnight.

“Our field is the biggest and most diverse of any party in history and I am glad to see that every one of those extremely qualified candidates will have the opportunity to participate on Thursday evening. Republicans across the country will be able to choose which candidate has earned their support after hearing them talk through the issues,” says Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus.

The committee has organized over 200 official debate watch parties in a dozen states, in the meantime. The Democratic National Committee has organized 38 events in 17 states. Many restaurants and bars around the nation are treating the debate like a sports event, drink specials and big screen TVs included.

“The RNC is harnessing enthusiasm around the most diverse field of candidates from any party in history to activate GOP supporters across the country,” Mr. Priebus adds. The most active Twitter hashtag is #GOPdebate

Who are the stars here? Appearing at the 5 p.m. alternative candidate debate: Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, Sen. Lindsey Graham,George Pataki,and Jim Gilmore.

“I look forward to being @FoxNews 5pm debate for what will be a serious exchange of ideas and positive solutions to get America back on track,” Mr. Perry summed up in an optimistic tweet.

Appearing at the main event: Donald Trump, Jeb Bush,Gov. Scott Walker,Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, Govs. Chris Christie and John Kasich.

The candidates won - or lost - their places based on their standing in national surveys conducted for Fox News, Bloomberg, CBS News, Monmouth University and Quinnipiac University.

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